Ok, one thing.. I don’t like fashion campaigns. They seem way too saturated (in color) but also a bit outdated…they look cartoonish in my eyes, especially when the models are airbrushed so much. I don’t get why the marketing is the same, when I see a Cavalli ad I cringe a little and wonder..does someone look at this and go..’I want to be that girl…?’ Alaia has NEVER done campaigns and well just look at what he does, selling out coats and dresses that go over 7k. Alaia is the king of True Luxury Branding. The message is clear, fashion campaigns..what’s the point? But I MUST be missing some kind of secret information because if companies are still shelling out to place these campaigns in magazines, then something must be working for them…. right? Something has to be working because the people who micro manage these luxury brands aren’t stupid enough to spend money where they don’t need to.
That said, I am utterly fascinated with the Helmut Lang campaigns from way back when (late 80s 90s beginning of 2000s). I have absolutely NO desire to wear Lang without the real Helmut Lang behind it (seriously, what’s..the…point…), but the most compelling fashion campaigns I’ve seen ever are the ones that Helmut Lang created with numerous fashion photographers (Elfie Semotan, Bruce Weber, Anthony Ward, and most important, Juergen Teller). You can smell Lang all over the older Calvin Klein and current Celine ads.
Let me start with my favorite image from a Helmut Lang campaign in collaboration with Juergen Teller. Just..wow. I love the hand gesture, the jewelry, and the close-up of the coat/jacket, it’s just very compelling. You guys know I can’t get enough of tightly cropped close up shots. I love the formula behind this campaign. The formula was there was no formula. Juergen Teller just shot these photos backstage at Lang’s shows. I can’t help but pitch in a little bit of my business perspective here but this is a shrewd move for developing a brand. You hire the models to walk the show, so why would you hire them again for a separate campaign? Just shoot them before/after they walk the show and use it in the campaign. Smart. Clearly the campaign didn’t suffer aesthetically. When I see these images, I want to be in this world.
The image above is only half of the real campaign. Isn’t it just..so good!?
Here are the others in a smaller format. I would have posted the HQs of these but couldn’t find them. The concept is the same. Flash on a background, cropped out bodies, and reality before/after the runway presentation. What I love is that it’s still got such a dramatic feeling even though less of it is staged. If a campaign has a clear message besides selling sex, I can appreciate it, even though I don’t like it. With most campaigns now I always wonder..what’s the message? With Lang I get it right away. The pictures scream ‘stealth wealth’, and ‘smart luxury’. And it’s photography that literally any one of us could do, it’s so easy to produce. But it’s quite clever to take something so direct and turn it into a campaign. Easy does it. My favorite part of course is that the campaigns are product driven, what fashion should really be about. Not the model. I’m still blown away that they were all taken backstage at a fashion show. The images are too good to be so effortless..
And again, another Juergen Teller photo..
Ok different photographer now, but similar campaign vibes. Again with the ‘behind-the-scenes’ mood but taken with a wide angle lens.
Another photo by Bruce Weber
I think these are by Anthony Ward, and yes his sister is one of the greatest stylists..Melanie Ward. I love when sisters and brothers work closely in the same field! I wish I had a sibling like that. I am an only child though.
You’ll notice in some of the campaigns nowadays it’s hip to include older people….like women and men over 50-60. Below ‘Anthony, Leslie and Melanie Ward’ shot by Anthony Ward.
Workwear, casualwear and functionals campaign below by Bruce Weber.
Surf Wetsuit V strap skeleton campaign. I love how this thing is titled-direct. You know how some designers have names for their bags? Like after models? I like when designers just describe exactly what it is.
This one below is by Cary Wolinsky. She didn’t work in fashion, but she was a photographer for the National Geographic. Can you tell..This is another one of my favorite ads.
Love the underwear campaign below, I think these are by Robert Mapplethorpe. Please correct me on any of these if I’m wrong.
Another one by Mapplethorpe. Oh this reminds me so much of A.P.C’s branding for some reason…. and I love A.P.C too. The heart with the dagger inside! I just want to have these hanging up in my room.
And another..Sometimes Mr. Lang forgets the clothes…
Not sure who this is shot by, but yes it is just amazing. I don’t even know what that is..it’s not a sunglass case cause it’s too long, ..it’s not a belt…I give up.
I had to include an image of Elfie Semotan. Queen of cool. She was a photographer as well and collaborated with Mr. Lang very often. It’s easy to say she was an important influence when it came to shaping Mr. Lang’s brand.
And here, a campaign collabo with Elfie Semotan.
Fragrance Campaign. So direct and straight forward. No flying models in strange poses or weird contraptions, no faces that are all smoothed out with the patch tool in photoshop….If you want a visual reminder of what most fragrance campaigns look like, just click here.
And here, Mr. Lang himself! It’s crazy to find out that Mr. Lang was the first fashion designer to live stream his shows through the internet. This was a little after we were still on AOL..and when designers still used those worthless flash websites- do designers still use flash websites? I hope not. I’m so curious about what Mr. Lang would design now, it’s quite evident that the Lang mood is everywhere. It’s all over the runways, high street..on the blogs…Anyway.. thanks for reading. Don’t forget to correct me on the photographers of these campaigns, some of them could be wrong..and please kindly provide a link to any other HQ Lang campaigns that weren’t included here if you can. I’ll definitely update this post with that image and link to your blog if you have one. See you guys soon.
**all of these images are sourced from the fashion spot.