New York Times: When Is a Fashion Ad Not a Fashion Ad?

 
 
 

New York Times: When Is a Fashion Ad Not a Fashion Ad?

The Times takes a behind-the-scene look at fashion advertising. The usual suspects are Marc Jacob, Juergen Teller and Charlotte Rampling.

MANY people look to fashion advertisements as eagerly as they do the layouts, and a perusal of the spring issues finds chalk-striped vamps at Dior, discoing Amazons at D&G, hipsters at Burberry and cloud-borne nymphs at Lanvin. Emerging from all this dreamy splendor, like an uninvited guest, her sharp elbows out, is the figure of Victoria Beckham.

Ms. Beckham, the former Spice Girl whose marriage to the soccer star David Beckham stirred the British press to the point of obsession until the couple moved to America, is not a conventionally beautiful woman, but, to judge by Juergen Teller’s pictures of her for Marc Jacobs’s ads, she is a good sport. Instead of looking like a glamorous celebrity, she has been rendered as an abstraction, a living doll. In the most disquieting image, we see only her bare, high-heeled legs flopping over the side of a shopping bag Mr. Jacobs had specially made to hold her.

“I knew this wasn’t going to be Vogue,” Ms. Beckham said by phone from her home in Los Angeles. “I knew I had to put myself in their hands, which could be quite scary.” She said she had a long discussion with Mr. Jacobs after he first proposed the idea, last September, and a follow-up chat with Mr. Teller, who met Ms. Beckham’s misgivings with a typical mixture of charm and candor. “I told her, ‘You’re the most photographed woman in the world,’ ” Mr. Teller recalled. “ ‘And fashion nowadays is all about product — bags and shoes — and you’re kind of a product yourself, aren’t you?’ She was, like, ‘Uh, yeah.’ ”

As Ms. Beckham calculated the advantages, “People are always going to talk about what Marc does.”

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