This morning, WWD published a story about models edging out celebrities in fall campaigns.
The publication says that European houses have booked more models than celebrities for their recent ads, and that American houses—which tend to favor models over celebrities, anyways—will likely continue in this vein for fall as well. The one exception? Madonna for Dolce & Gabbana.
YSL’s Stefano Pilati and Gucci’s Frida Giannini agree that models are the preferred choice. Pilati, who is shooting fall ads with Daria Werbowy as I write this, said, “Actresses are fantastic, but they’re not models and it’s not easy. [Actresses] have an attitude, but will never be the fashion attitude. To me, fashion photography is with a model; otherwise, it’s a portrait.”
Giannini quips, “The other issue with celebrities 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.” Meanwhile, Brazilian beauty Raquel Zimmermann is set to star in Gucci’s latest campaigns.
WWD’s sources provided other examples: Balenciaga will cast ten models this season, among them Karen Elson and Stella Tennant; Louis Vuitton’s ads—recently shot by Steven Meisel—will feature Elson, Natalia Vodianova and Christy Turlington; and the Roberto Cavalli campaign will star Gisele Bündchen.
Karl Lagerfeld has also reinstated his band of Chanel and Fendi regulars: Abbey Lee Kershaw, Freja Beha Erichsen, Iris Strubegger and Anja Rubik. When asked why he selected only models, the designer replied that there are “not so many” celebrities to choose from. Plus, their “overexposure in ‘people’ magazines also makes it that one may be a little tired of celebrities and the red carpet. I love models and there are great ones for the moment.”
Another reason celebrity faces have dwindled in ads is that the star-crowd are a risky bunch. The director of Marilyn Agency’s celebrities and branding in Paris, Robert Ferrel, adds that “you have to understand that that movie star might have one hit movie and then a dry period. Especially in this economic environment, brands are definitely looking to get more out of their investment.”
Pilati concludes the article stating, “I do the fashion. They, the models, know how to wear it, and the photographer knows how to take a picture of it. It’s where the fashion dream comes from.”
The industry consensus is “more models and less celebs,” and we couldn’t agree more. Now if only Vogue felt the same way about their covers.