Monday, December 15, 2014

Balmain's Spring Ad Campaign: Girls Will Be Boys

Let's talk about this ad.

And that one.

To the naked eye, these images may appear to be classic "girls just wanna have fun" photos featuring the hottest models in the industry stuffing their faces and still looking like goddesses. To the knowledgable eye, this is a Balmain Ad Campaign featuring five stunning Victoria's Secret Angels: Adriana Lima, Crista Cober, Isabeli Fontana, Joan Smalls, and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley taking on role model status.

Last week, I spoke about Alexander Wang's new denim campaign. I was flabbergasted (to say the least) at the blatant sexual image of Anna Ewers. This week, I found an ad that does "thought-provoking" the right way. As much as I love Wang, if this were a style contest, Balmain wore it better. Not only does this Balmain campaign promote an image of diversity (an important facet for designer, Olivier Rousteing), but it defies gender roles by placing women in a typically masculine setting doing typically masculine activities such as playing video games and eating fast food. Of course, these women are dressed a lot more scantily than your average male in his sweatpants in front of the TV, but in case you hadn't noticed, that is only the case for the first image, and even then, they look like sexy superheroes. In the second, they're wearing bold colour blocked dresses and jumpsuits, while enjoying a feast of burgers and fries. That is definitely NOT an image you see every day. Just when you thought the industry wanted us all to be skin thin, we find an ad such as this one telling skinny girls to EAT and not just a salad, but the fattest food around.

If this ad does not send a positive message, I don't know what does. While the Wang image resonated because of its sexually provocative nature, this one makes us think about the industry in a new light by painting an unconventional picture of models that subverts expectations. Rousteing takes the androgyny trend to a new level by having his models dressed in sexy and feminine gear, while engaging in stereotypically masculine endeavours. Essentially, according to this designer, girls can be boys without actually dressing like them. They can play Nintendo and eat fast food like the boys, but they should not lose their sensuality in the process.

Message received.



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