Sunday, 7 April 2013

Unconventional beauty: Saint Laurent SS 2013 ad campaign

If there's one thing that I've learnt about fashion, it's to expect the unconventional and altogether insane. It's important to embrace the absurd or else be left behind feeling rather bewildered. If anything the strange aspects of style that we're faced with every now and then are what makes fashion such an interesting industry. The contrast between brands that emit a sense of classic and consistent style to those who spiral into the realms of unconventionality creates a constant circle of fresh air within fashion.

When the new creative director of Saint Laurent was announced as being Hedi Slimaneit, it was almost inevitable that the brand was planning on making waves. As a well respected photography he's recognised for his creation of images that provide a somber look at the world, with each of his photographs completely drained of colour in a monochromatic pallet. He's worked with the likes of Kate Moss, Lady Gaga, Lara Stone and even Amy Winehouse, portraying them each in a light altogether unreachable for many other photographers. His work has a twisted beauty about it.

The Saint Laurent S/S 2013 ad campaign was revealed earlier this week, both directed and photographed by Hedi himself, and has sure enough created quite the stir. The images are a far cry from the usual elegant adverts that grace the pages of such magazines as Vogue, and perhaps more surprisingly Cara Delevingne doesn't feature at all! Slimaneit took the controversial decision to use a mix of rockers Courtney Love, Ariel Pink, Kim Gordon and Marilyn Manson as the faces of this season's collection under the title "The Saint Laurent music project" (Yes, you read correctly - Marilyn Manson). After already dropping the "Yves" from the brand's name the move was a second step in both angering and exciting the fashion community, creating a huge divide in opinions which range from absolute disgust to intense lust. 

The brand is no stranger to controversy when it comes to ad campaigns. In 2011 the advert for the YSL Perfume "Opium" was banned by the Advertising Standards Authority on the grounds that it stimulated drug abuse. The perfume also created friction among the public back in 2000 when a naked Sophie Dahl was plastered to billboards, causing outrage and leading to 948 complaints being filed against it. The ad was banned from public viewing due to it being considered too sexual and it was only from then on allowed to be placed in suitable magazines. To some it was all rather scandalous

Fast forward 13 years and the brand has once again caused contention, although for entirely different reasons. The ad campaign can't be branded as sexual nor as drug promoting, but purely as a contorted view of beauty within fashion. The idea of disheveled rock singers into their 40s and beyond modeling high fashion to the more traditional thinkers of the industry is perhaps seen as entirely ridiculous. The idea of a male with blackened lips and eyes being the face of Saint Laurent simply fatuous. The idea of a tattoo reading "let it bleed" being on show next to a S/S 2013 dress altogether perplexing. However, to many others the ideas are viewed as genial insanity. The simple thought that the worlds of high fashion and rock music could collide to form something so intriguing and in their own way stunningly beautiful is groundbreaking.

Personally, I see the adverts as rather amazing and am able to appreciate their genius and their allure. Although I'm also able to understand the way in which some dislike the photographs due to their nontraditional take on fashion, I think it's quite refreshing to take a step away from the normal model covered adverts that are so common these days. Sometimes unconventional beauty is altogether more captivating.

What do you think of the ad campaign?

Thanks for reading, 
Bethany Paige X

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