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OK, let’s complicate Gap’s “simple clothes.” Whoa boy. David Fincher has directed four glossy, black-and-white ads for the Gap’s new “Dress Normal” campaign—elusive, noir-ish vignettes in which various hip people in Gap’s signature bland make out or flirt or take off their pants. “Each one features a confident woman at the center and tells a story of how liberating it is when you are being your most authentic self. We believe everyone who watches them will identify with one or more of the characters,” Gap’s marketing head tells Adweek.
So who are the characters with whom we’re meant to identify? A black man rushes up the stairs towards a motionless, serene white woman (the ad ends before he reaches the top, leaving him in a perpetual state of exhaustive escalation towards the woman above him); two white hipsters make out as the female half checks herself out in the mirror; three white people in a car look on nervously as a wet, non-white woman takes off her pants (wow, how exotic!); and two more white hipsters hang out at that totem of white suburbia, the driving range.
The ads each have their own tagline: “Simple clothes for you to complicate” (the stairs). “Dress like no one’s watching” (the makeout). “The uniform of rebellion and conformity” (the vehicular striptease). “Let your actions speak louder than your clothes” (at the driving range). Then: “Dress normal,” the ad concludes—a slogan that reads more like a brainwashing command than a slogan suggesting you gotta head to your nearest Gap.
To begin with, the word “normal,” especially in fashion advertising, is ridiculously troubling. You’re saying, “Let’s establish that this is what everyone should look like.” The corresponding print ads revealed earlier this month use celebrities like Angelica Huston, Zosia Mamet, and Michael K. Williams as models, which suggested “dress normal” was a mantra to rely on your something other than your clothes to define “you” (that something being your…celebrity, I guess?).
But according to AdAge, Fincher was adamant that the Gap should use unknowns for the TV spots—and the use of anonymous stand-ins provides a pretty complicated definition of “normal.” Gap seems to assume, without much thought, that “normal” as an aesthetic is very narrow indeed: skinny jeans, little leather jackets, and boxy James Dean-like t-shirts, mostly shown on super svelte white women. In other words, white and middle-class. Sure, this is an image that we see all the time in fashion advertising, but never is it so exclusively stated and promoted as the standard. “Dress normal,” the ad commands, discounting all other modes of dressing. Dress is limited to just a few pieces that fit in a very specific way. Unless this is an ironic send-up of how fashion advertising promotes such an exclusive and narrow image—which could be brilliant, but seems impossible—this will probably go down as one of the most controversial and troubling fashion ad campaigns in recent memory.
I guess all those boring ad guys got what they wanted: propaganda.
Hillary Clinton boutique is the dopest shopping spot in Kosovo. Around the corner from Bill Clinton Boulevard in Kosovo’s capital is HILLARY, the hottest shop to find all your Hillary Clinton clothing needs. They don’t carry Nina McLemore, but their red pantsuit is flying off the shelves. (NYP)
Is this the world’s largest turban? Here’s an incredible video of a man putting on and cruising around town in his 100-pound, 645-meter-long turban. (YouTube)
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Beyonce did an awesomely avant-garde cover for CR Fashion Book. In Comme des Garçons, Margiela, and Prada, with creative direction by Ricardo Tisci, a Chanel #surfbort, and a wacky Blonde on Blonde-era Dylan-esque poem by Bey (“I saw a TV preacher when I was scared / at four or five, about bad dreams”). Will this put those nasty rumors about CR Fashion Book’s demise to bed? (CR Fashion Book)
Teens to clothes: “I’m just not that in2 u.” But also because they met someone else: phones. Teens love phones and clothes are just a snooze in comparison, says the Times. “You get [teens] talking about crop tops, you get a nice little debate about high-waist going, but the conversation keeps shifting back” to tech, says a retail analyst, who sounds like he is probably the only adult to have a productive conversation with teenagers in over a decade. Traditional teen retailers like Abercrombie are flagging, and Lucky EIC Eva Chen says it’s because teens, like goats, sheep, and cows before them, are “grazing,” buying a few things here and there throughout the year instead of dropping mad dollars in one fell back-to-skewl splurgella. It probably also has something to do with teenagers relationships with clothing, I think: the kind of self-identity you used to establish through an Abercrombie sweater is now done through an Instagram selfie. (NYT)
La vie en Ghesquière! It’s a little bit [law] suit, a little bit summer sail! Ghesquière and Balenciaga, it was announced yesterday, will attempt mediation in lieu of a court ruling, in a suit the fashion house brought against its former designer alleging that the controversial interview he gave to System left him in violation of his separation agreement. And they want in the region of $9 million from Ghesquière. Can these two crazy kids just talk it out? We’ll have to wait and see! If not, a judge will put on this sick red fur-trimmed robe and hand down a decision. In other, cheerier news for Ghesquière, Frank Gehry has designed these beautiful Enya-themed windows for Louis Vuitton. No, wait—they are inspired by the Gehry’s Fondation Louis Vuitton, on which he’s putting the finishes touches before Ghesquière presents his second collection for LV there. Ghesquière has always designed clothes fit for space’s first luxury co-op; will his fall collection echo those signature Gehry soars? Regardless: these moods are pure. (WWD, WWD)
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Chloe x Opening Ceremony = Bro fashion! Chloe Sevigny did a dope interview with the Daily Beast, in which she revealed that her next Opening Ceremony collection will take inspiration from the bros who chased her out of the East Village and into Park Slope: “It’s a play on those annoying, white caps that say Syracuse Lacrosse…. I think it’s hilarious. We always called all the preppy kids in high school white caps.” She also discusses Whit Stillman, the fall of the East Village, and the lack of fashion originality in New York: “I don’t know if it’s a sign of the times, but where are the real weirdos? The real outcasts? They’re a vanishing breed here.” (Daily Beast)
McDonald’s fashion is slutty. Susie Lau takes fall’s biggest trends—Americana, sportswear, romance, and normcore—for a spin IRL with amusing results. She wears the fiery Tom Ford sequin jersey with Moschino’s McDonald’s cup-purse to McDonald’s, where a woman hisses, “Slut! What is she wearing?” Perhaps she was disparaging Lau’s, uh, commercial promiscuity? (The Independent)
Will Proenza Schouler be Delphine Arnault’s next big get? She’s hipped-up LVMH’s portfolio with Nicholas Kirkwood and J.W. Anderson. After she fawned over Proenza to WWD last year, there’s now word LVMH is in advanced talks to acquire a 40% stake in the brand. (WWD, W)