THE TOP ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS OF 2016
This year, top brands such as Prada and Chanel said goodbye to conventional sophistication and embraced a relaxed, applied aesthetic for their latest advertising offerings. Staying true to the spirit of their earlier Spring / Summer 2016 campaigns that fronted a home-made and DIY type quality, the second part of the year saw a growing number of brands jump on board to carry the notion of this aesthetic even further as the industry headed towards a new kind of digitally-inspired, campaign imagery.
These fashion school inspired, collage like campaigns could well be a direct response to the industry popularity of Doug Abraham and his critically acclaimed Instagram feed BessNYC4. Best known for his repackaging of mainstream advertising into habitual counter cultural collages, Abrahams has become an important link between luxury fashion houses and endemic digital techniques such as simplistic post effects and visual splicing. Abraham´s has already collaborated with top brands such as Givenchy, Courreges, Marc Jacobs and Adidas Originals to name a few. If his diary for 2017 is anything to go by, his industry influence appears to be growing exponentially. So, without further hesitation, here are our top ten advertising campaigns of the year.
¨ Anyone can look for fashion in a boutique or history in a museum. Today´s creative director looks for history in a hardware store and fashion in an airport. “- Charles Daniel McDonald
Chanel — Shot by Karl Lagerfeld, styled by Carine Roitfeld.
This season, the Kaiser Karl Lagerfeld described his enigmatic vision for the Chanel campaign as “spontaneous. “As expected, the campaign features the entire signature Chanel motifs with their quilted fabrics, pearls and Camellia´s. In addition to this, these images were interspersed with cut outs of Sarah Brannon and Mariacarla Boscono to give a little iconic relief (as if we needed any kore). This overall aesthetic is a little ´Coco on Acid´ thanks to their peace sign emoji’s and smiley faces which sit next to cartoon blossoms and black and white images of the models. By utilising this imagery, Lagerfeld has yet again managed to update the historic French houses identity to that of a pop art aesthetic which is entwined into the brand’s classic codes. Carine Roitfeld returned to style the current campaign to ensure a shocking yet steady reaction for Karl’s latest vision of Chanel.
Dior Homme — Shot by Willy Vanderperre, styled by Olivier Rizzo.
Dior´s award winning director Kris Van Assche continues to rework the Dior Homme brand DNA, a notion which he further explores this time by adding his own influences which were translated from elevated street style silhouettes. For Autumn/Winter 2016, Van Assche selected a range of “subversive” ambassadors; from film director and producer Larry Clark to rapper A$AP Rocky, as well as French model Dylan Roques and actor Rod Paradot, all cross sections of celebrity and media life were succinctly represented. Although Roques was hailed by Van Assche as the muse of the 2016 season, he had walked exclusively for the brand during the last Paris Men’s Fashion Week. The main image of A$AP Rocky wearing Dior´s vermillion coat which was contrasted by Dior’s muted grey branding, is the money shot from the entire campaign.
Roberto Cavalli — Shot by Tim Walker, styled by Ellie Grace Cumming and George Cortina.
This is now Roberto Cavalli’s second campaign under the creative direction of boho director Peter Dundas and is a move which continues the brand’s distillation away from typically sensual and blatantly sultry advertising with Cavalli´s latest offering featuring famous faces such as the one and only Nicki Minaj. For his second instalment, Dundas instilled a sense of the zeitgeist in the form of youth culture and romance into the campaign. British photographer Tim Walker (who is best known for his on location editorial shoots that play with allegory and fantasy) was commissioned alongside starlet Ellie Grace Cumming, who began her career as Alister Mackie‘s assistant, to keep everything in the fashion family. The campaign stars up and coming models such as Adwoa Aboah and Erik van Gils who are seen lounging in a gossamer filtered fantasy placing them swathed in crushed velvets and silks harking a sign of the times and welcoming a new kind of sexy at the Italian powerhouse.
Balenciaga — Shot by Mark Borthwick, styled by Lotta Volkova.
New artistic director Demna Gvasaliatook makes his mark in Balenciaga´s first major season campaign. Mark Borthwick filmed unknown and new up and coming fashion talent on location in central Paris. Constructing the ´golden not olden´ photographic prop of a simple mirror resting against an unmarked wall – Gvasaliatook and Borthwick, teamed up with long term styling co-ordinator Lotta Volkova to create a series of powerful images using the simplest of props for maximum impact.
Calvin Klein — Shot by Tyrone Lebon, styled by Max Pearmain and Grant Woodhead.
Hailed by many as ´the best creative director in the world´ – Vogue´s infamous stylist at large Grace Coddington joins a whole host of fashion talents such as Margot Robbie for Calvin Klein´s latest multimedia extravaganza; a production which features ambassadors from across the media and entertainment industry and pays homage to the brand’s augmenting ubiquity and universal sex appeal. This season presents a more exalted narrative: their all too familiar ´fill-in-the-blank´ captions are layered over seductive images which are directed by Tyrone Lebon, a powerhouse of talent who returned to the brand for his second consecutive season. Over the past several years, Calvin Klein has taken up a more strategic role in the fashion industry in the form of social media-savvy advertising and strategic casting direction. The first four months of 2014 saw their Instagram campaign #MyCalvins garner more than 4.5 million interactions with the associated Instagram hashtag #MyCalvins accounting for almost 400,000 images – the majority of which were user created content showing how their public relate to the brand in their everyday life, which is rather a clever strategy.
Raf Simons — Shot by Willy Vanderperre, styled by Olivier Rizzo.
Raf Simons teamed up with his long-term confederates Willy Vanderperre, Luca Lemaire and Olivier Rizzo ( through the mediums of photography, styling and modelling) to capture the eponymous label’s Autumn/Winter 2016 campaign. Featuring alternative imagery and shadowy introspection, Simons wanted to transmit attitudes, visions and memories for the future as well as showcasing garments themselves. Within the stills, the “Preppy victim” plays protagonist in the campaign which features the Belgian wunderkind´s idiosyncratic take on abstract American sportswear with silhouettes which are beautifully shot with Lemaire in an evocative style of intimate portraiture.
Prada — Shot by Steven Meisel, styled by Olivier Rizzo.
Prada enlisted 27 prominent names to feature in its Autumn/Winter 2016 campaign which was shot by long time house collaborator Steven Meisel. Their seasonal feature enlists Prada muse Sasha Pivovarova, actress Milla Jovovich and new talent Natalie Westling, who star alongside 24 less known faces. The stark, digitally enhanced perfection of the landscapes that the models are set against, (whether they be burning sunrises or starry skies) is nothing short of breath-taking. All this dramatic imagery is supposed to force the viewer to focus on Miuccia Prada’s Autumn/Winter 2016 collection; a feat which it achieves successfully. Described by many industry critiques as a “tour de force “, this current collection explores challenging themes such as the polarisation of the rich and the poor, and the imminent threat of mass migration – who said fashion was all about clothes.
Brioni — Shot by Zackery Michael, art directed by Justin O’Shea.
This is creative director Justin O´Shea´s first campaign for Brioni and an appointment which gives his the chance to overhaul the brand – something which he does by casting none other than Metallica with heady references to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. Shot by Zackery Michael, the black and white images star Metallica’s James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett, Lars Ulrich and Robert Trujillo who appear in both group and individual images – sometimes suiting up in formal white dinner jackets, bow ties and sunglasses. This campaigns radical creative vision has seen O´Shea strategically realign the Italian brand towards more masculine and mature lines. Paying homage to the origin of the brand, the new Gothic typeface used across the bottom of the images is a reinterpretation of Brioni’s original logo from way back in 1945 when it was first founded.
Miu Miu — Shot by Alasdair McLellan, styled by Katie Grand.
After a sequence of low-key, documentary style campaigns, Miu Miu was looking for a venue which would give it a “24 hour lived-in decadence.” They achieved this notion for this season by choosing Houghton Hall, the country seat of British politics, as its reference point. The campaign is inspired by the Hall´s classical sundial quotation, “any hour for my friends,” which is located in the grounds of the estate. The campaign was styled by the legendary Katie Grand, which saw actress Amanda Seyfried cast alongside a group of models including Anna Ewers and Taylor Hill, who were captured enjoying their celebrations by Alasdair McLellan in his first shoot for the brand. Entitled “Found Narratives,” Miu Miu´s campaign follows the cast of characters, including “the Player”, “the Whisperer “and “the Ingenue” as they embark on a fantasized English country weekend escape, complete with lawn games, tiaras and picnic hampers – as one does.
Coach — Shot by Steven Meisel, styled by Karl Templer.
Another sartorial chapter in Coaches return to cool sees the brand return home to mark their boundary with the assistance of long-time collaborator and stylist Karl Templer, a key team member who teams up with art direction agency Baron & Baron and photographer Steven Meisel (a talent who has shot all the brand’s campaigns ever since creative director Stuart Vevers debut back in Autumn/Winter 2014). Their latest instalment features models such as Jing Wen, Caitie Greene and Rianne Van Rompaey being filmed frolicking in a car park which is filled to capacity with exquisite vintage cars, somewhere in a downtown Brooklyn car park. Coach are enjoying somewhat of an industry re-emergence which has seen them regain their market share and financial success, albeit piecemeal, within the expanding accessible luxury sector market.
Article: Charles Daniel McDonald
Photography: Each Respective Design House