Hot on the heels of the IFB bloggers and body image fiasco (read about the entire shit show here and here) comes news of J.Crew's ad campaign featuring "real people." Instead of relying on models, the fall ads depict accomplished fashion and media professionals, including Le Figaro deputy editor Virginie Mouzat (above) and Joe Carlucci, contemporary art business director at Phillips de Pury & Co. (right).
Let's ignore for a second that these regular folk look good enough to be models in order to answer an important question: Are "real people" having a fashion moment?
Let me start off by saying that I understand that models are not made of plastic, because by using the phrase "real people," I'll inevitably hear from at least one person that skinny, beautiful women are real women too! I get it, I really do: Models are perfectly real, even if they happen to be genetically blessed freaks of nature. But from here on out, just let me refer to the non-model crowd as real people (sans quotation marks) for the sake of simplicity.
Now... according to a rule somebody once made up somewhere, trends come in threes, and the J.Crew campaign is indeed the third high-profile instance of real people in fashion this year. It began with the Dolce & Gabbana show during Milan Men's Fashion Week in June, which saw 70 Joe Schmoes (albeit good-looking ones) plucked from the island of Sicily to walk the runway. The show was declared a massive hit, praised for its authenticity.
|Dolce & Gabbana S/S 2013 [via The Gloss]|
Next came Lanvin's fall 2012 ad campaign shot by Steven Meisel and featuring an octogenarian dancer, a drag queen and what appears to be a Viking fisherman, among others. All were cast on the street, and all are truly fascinating photographs of unique and unexpected beauty.
|[photos by Steven Meisel for Lanvin]|
So, what exactly does the real-people-as-models phenomenon say about the fashion industry? Is it changing, swinging towards a more inclusive view of beauty? Or is it all just a lot of hullabaloo about nothing? Considering the fact that we've been talking about the comeback of "curvy" models for years to little effect, I'm skeptical. But I want to hear what you think!