Coco Rocha stars in the new ad campaign for Banana Republic's Mad Men clothing collection — and critics are saying she's too skinny to convincingly model vintage-style clothing. (Little-known fact: there were no skinny people in the world until 1972, when scientists invented them. Thanks, science.) A sampling of less-than-thrilled comments from the brand's Facebook page:
That woman is too skinny to accurately portray the time in which "Mad Men" takes place.
Not loving the bony girl! Have you people watched mad men? Nobody looks like that . Thanks preppy brand for once again reminding regular girls that they just are not skinny enough. Cute print though
I don't understand how you never show Christina Hendricks model likes, so we can see how a dress would look on a female with breasts!
There are only three sizes a woman can be in the tabloid media/average Internet comment section: "anorexic," "fat," and "is she pregnant?" The desire on the part of consumers to see greater bodily diversity among models in ads and editorials is understandable, and even noble. The endless, public picking apart of women's bodies to keep them in their place is not.
As befits the narrative arc of the show, this collection — unlike some of costume designer Janie Bryant's previous efforts, which reflected a more early-60s, hourglass silhouette — is full-on late-60s mod. Casting a model like Rocha seems of a piece with that aesthetic. And as she explains, the slightly bobble-headed look of the final ads is the result of deliberate choices on the part of the photographer and the brand, who wanted the ads to look slightly distorted, like iconic images of Twiggy (who was kind of a big deal back then):
"It was fascinating because we also shot in a style that was heavily used in '60s photos, and I've never shot in that kind of framing before. It's a Twiggy sort of style where the [models' faces are angled] forward, and their bodies look smaller. I think we really got the essence of a '60s campaign."
Alexander Wang's first collection for Balenciaga walked last night in Paris. Critics mostly liked the collection, which was recognizably based on the house's archives and largely black and white. "He drew a shade more literally from the Balenciaga archives than Ghesquiere tended to, but nobody could fault him for this, since Cristobal Balenciaga is one of the greatest designers to have ever grasped a pair of scissors," wrote the Times of London. Vanessa Friedman at the Financial Times said this collection "will probably be gratifying from a consumer perspective: not too challenging, but elegant enough, the clothes suggested the past without confronting it." Cathy Horyn of the Times, not known for being a Wang fangirl, called it "an impressive collection on Thursday that should silence his critics for a while." [ToL, FT, On The Runway]
Meanwhile, Racked took 25 recent articles about Alexander Wang and tabulated the most common descriptors used by each. Fashion writers and their editors, it turns out, think Wang is "youthful," "downtown," "streetwise," and "edgy." [Racked]
Remember how Jeremy Scott's fall collection was all "inspired" by 80s and 90s skateboarding culture and the gross-out cartoon imagery that used to grace skate decks and hoodies of the period? Well, turns out it was actually kind of stolen from a company called Santa Cruz Skateboards and the work of its longtime illustrator Jimbo Phillips. Some of the Scott prints are so close to the reference images that they practically could have been traced. The designer has yet to comment. [Refinery29, MTV Style]
Suno's spring campaign video is just perfect. Can the weather hurry up and get warm, already? [Vimeo]
J.C. Penney's financial performance is still not improving under newish C.E.O. Ron Johnson, and this is leading to doubts about Johnson's plan to turn the company around. J.C. Penney lost $985 million in the year 2012, $552 million of those losses coming in the fourth quarter. Same-store sales fell year-on-year by over 30% during the same quarter. Johnson's original plan for the chain was to permanently cut prices by 20-30% and stop holding permanent "sales" — except for occasional clearance sales. But it turns out customers like artificially high MSRPs and big, red signs that say "40% OFF!" Johnson says, "We worked really hard and tried many things to help the customer understand that she could shop anytime on her terms. But we learned she prefers a sale. At times she loves the coupon. And always she needs a reference price." He added that J.C. Penney has brought back regular sales and coupons. [WWD]
Interesting tidbit from the ongoing Macy's/J.C. Penney/Martha Stewart trial over Stewart's homewares line:
[Macy's lawyer Theodore] Grossman showed other ads, which highlighted the evolution of the brand, while revealing that Macy's pays for all the advertising of the collections in the Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. magazine Martha Stewart Everyday Living without any discount. Reardon also explained that MSLO gets a free ride for events such as Macy's' upcoming "American Icon" event. Brands that wish to participate must pay a seven-figure fee, she said, but not Stewart.
"She's part of the family," [Macy's chief marketing officer Martine] Reardon said. "She's a big part of how we want to represent the home business, to do an event and not have Martha be a part of it does not work for me. She is an American icon, she is exclusively at Macy's."
Apparently Beyoncé had some sneakers made out of ostrich, anaconda, crocodile, calf skin, and stingray. Jay-Z got a pair done in ostrich, python, boa, crocodile, lizard, alligator, suede, and stingray. [Daily Mail]
Cher turned up at the Gareth Pugh show in Paris. She'd never heard of Pugh and came as a guest of the jewelry designer Loree Rodkin, a friend. [WWD]
Caroline Trentini and her husband are expecting their first child. [Vogue Italia]
Leona Lewis is lending her name to a collection of cosmetics with the Body Shop. It launches this spring. [WWD]
BCBG Max Azria is apparently for sale. [BoF]
Karl Lagerfeld opened a Karl Lagerfeld store in Paris, for all your Karl Lagerfeld needs. [WWD]
Limited Brands, the parent company of Victoria's Secret, Bath & Bodyworks, and other chains, saw net income rise year-on-year by 14.5% during the quarter just ended, to $411.4 million. [WWD]
And now, a moment with top model Wakeema Hollis, who goes by Hollis. Hollis is known for her afro. "The director of a top modeling agency in Paris told me point-blank that I needed to lose the weave and accept my natural beauty," she explains, "or else I would never make it as an international model. It seemed harsh then, but now I see how right he was." Hollis, what's the fashion industry's role in the conversation about black women, beauty, and hair?
"Black women are still made to feel as if there is something wrong, ugly or unacceptable about embracing our natural hair texture. As a model I'm aware that the fashion industry often sets the standard for how beauty is defined. Women and young girls look at fashion magazines and try to imitate what they see. If only rail thin models with long straight hair are shown, women internalize that and believe that their own natural beauty isn't good enough."