Campaign Trail: Models Edge Out Celebs In Fall Ads
Models and celebrities have typically inhabited two separate if equally glossy worlds. Never mind the sartorial gap — like the drama geeks and the popular girls back in high school, they just did different things. Celebrities stuck to the red carpet while their super counterparts fronted campaigns, walked catwalks, and more or less ruled the fashion universe. And for years both each seemed pretty content in their orbit.
That was until the late 90s and early aughts when someone (we’re looking at you, Vogue) floated the idea that there was money to be had by opting for familiar, commercial faces over the iconic otherworldly types. The great celebrity invasion was staged. Designers began tapping well-known actresses — a Scarlett Johansson here, a Sarah Jessica Parker there — for their lucrative campaigns and leaving models to brush up on their walks.
But now, it seems like the scales have tipped and models have re-staked their campaign claim. “A change was needed,” said Karl Lagerfeld who shoots enough campaigns to canonize the trend. “Celebrities want to do their own lines, their fragrances, which sometimes works for a short time.” In fact, as WWD observes, it was nearly a clean sweep this season with many houses even opting for less-bankable faces (read: not Kate, Coco or Gisele) like Abbey Lee Kershaw and Freja Beha Erichsen for Chanel, Anja Rubik for Fendi, and Raquel Zimmermann for Gucci.
But designers contend that it’s not just about the money — though those celebrities do cost a pretty penny each season. “The other issue with celebrities,” explained Frida Giannini, the creative director at Gucci ,”is that they are characters who are often associated with a certain film. I prefer a strong, generic face that’s not related to any world — whether that be music or Hollywood.”
Of course, we’re not sure there’s anything generic about Raquel Zimmerman but whatever works, right? We’re just happy to see the models back where they belong and as for the celebrities — maybe it’s best they just stick to their day jobs, lest there be an epic face-off. Or better yet — a walk off.