too perfect for words
images courtesy of Vogue Paris, Vogue Russia & ID magazine
I just can’t get enough of gap toothed models. The off beat gazes of Georgia Jagger and Lara Stone embody everything that is inventive in fashion. An experimental fashion mood has seen casting agents shift from the army of perfects that once graced the covers and catwalks in favour of models with just the right amount of awkward. Hardly a fresh observation (Jagger was named Model of the Year back in December and Stone has been killing it in the cover count for the past 18 months) but perhaps the signature of a new consumer order.
One of my favourite authors on luxury fashion branding argues that the appeal of luxury fashion lies in exclusivity and inaccessibility. A casual search of 90’s campaign images reads like a high school year book. Similar faces with similar features; a class of supers. Too perfect for words, so conversations just aren’t needed.
Lately something has stirred in the world of branding. Aspirational messages have become tired and gloss without character is fading faster than you can say ‘easy, breezy, beautiful’. All brands, not just those in fashion, need to prove themselves more than ever.
Luxury fashion’s foray into the realm of social media runs almost parallel to the rise of Jagger and Stone. Most of the industry, that has made its money through mystique with a carefully curated feign of disinterest, has only recently followed their customers online. It’s more than likely an uncomfortable dynamic for fashion brokers who are used to a ‘top down’ approach, satisfied in the position to dictate in a one way conversation to their customers. Now these customers are talking back.
Now more than ever fashion messages need to be more relevant or marketers will risk losing their customers to another online channel. Competition, or criticism for that matter, is only a click away and brands than appear elusive will be left out of the conversation. The brands who are willing to talk and embrace the democracy of the internet will undoubtedly prevail over those who shun it for fear of lost control. Brands who do not speak do not have influence and finding the perfect balance between too cool and too inclusive is a challenge that the fashion industry needs to confront; preferably with a gap-toothed smile.