Balenciaga: Fall 2000 vs Fall 2008

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Thanks to Leah's obsessive archiving of magazines and all noteworthy ads, we're starting a new ongoing conversation here on Fashionista, all about ad campaigns. First up, Balenciaga. At left, we have a Fall 2000 ad, shot by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin. At right, the more familiar Fall 2008, shot by David Sims. Of note first, obviously, is the use of a celebrity, Charlotte Gainsbourg, instead of models. With Charlotte, come connotations that inevitably affect how we think of the ad - Charlotte is sweet, down to earth, subtle, kind of crunchy. We're supposed to be struck by her in such a stiff, alien-like pose, her seemingly inhuman shadow meant to scare the hell out of us. In focus is the armor-like severity of the dress, just before our eyes finally fall onto the shoes, accessories having become so much more of a focal point for major houses in recent seasons. But in Fall 2000, the story was different. The models come with no baggage at all, so we can only really guess what they're supposed to be telling us, the mystery seeming to lay somewhere between the model's awareness of the camera, and the bizarreness of a horse on stairs he'd have trouble climbing anyway (assuming they're ordinary house stairs). On a side note, doesn't that dog sweater now seem like the un-ironic predecessor of the Chanel penguin sweater? Now, your turn.