I've been a fashion magazine addict (and a magazine fan in general) for a very long time. The first leaves turning red are lovely, and that first day when the sky is clear and the humidity has vanished is a delight, but since I was about 12, nothing signaled "fall is coming!" for me quite like the heft of Seventeen magazine's back-to-school issue as I giddily pulled it out of my mailbox. Even now I love a thick stack of September issues - right now I have Bazaar, Vogue (US and UK - I'd have bought French Vogue if Borders had had it in stock), W, Vanity Fair, Elle, and Elle Accessories stacked next to the bed. Yes, they are mostly ads, and that's why I like them. I won't wax philosophical; I'll just say that high-end fashion ads are typically striking, often artistic, and sometimes inspirational. What I take away from an ad is sometimes the product being peddled, but often it is something somewhat incidental. For instance, if I pick up Elle Accessories, the first ad is for Guess shoes and handbags. Yes, silver is going to continue to be hot this fall (as will metallics in general), but what I see is that the model in one photo is wearing 4 of the hottest trends for fall makeup: thick, defined brows; winged eyeliner; red lips; and short, red nails.
I really started this because I wanted to record this feeling of nostalgia induced by a 2-pound magazine (I'm probably rounding up), but now that I've started flipping through Elle Accessories, I think I'll comment on a few ads...
Prada shoes - I'm not a huge fan of Prada, but these shoes are lovely, particularly the brown and toast colored ombre patent ones. (Actually it's degrade when when the dip-dye look isn't on fabric. Ombre is pretty hot this fall, too.) But the ad also shows glimpses of skirt and dress hemlines that appear to be covered in cassette tape fringe. Similar to a Bottega Veneta ad I saw recently with some very 20s, flapper-esque fringed dresses. But uglier. Intriguing, though. That's the weird thing about fashion -- even when it's ugly, it can still be captivating.
This turned out to be more than a few ads...
Louis Vuitton - The Scarlett Johannson ads continue. Not a big fan of her in general, but this fall series is really well done, especially if you ignore the hideous logo bags they feature. This one in particular stands out to me because it contains vivid color combinations -- a scarlet (hahaha, someone was really working that one) cushion, a luminous yellow silk blouse, a shimmering jewel blue skirt -- each striking on its own, but together it's another reminder of how important saturated jewel tones are for the fall and possibly beyond.
David Yurman - I look at this lovely photo of Kate Moss in a soft black beret and wonder what on earth makes her go back to Pete Doherty again and again.
Tod's - Sienna Miller rocking a bit of a motorcycle chic. Seems a little overdone for Tod's mostly conservative handbags.
Michael Kors - I don't know who they've been using for the recent ads, but she's always done up in total glamazon fashion in a way that I find distracts from the items being sold. I also wonder exactly how much of her leg length is courtesy of PhotoShop.
Chloe - I see that they cannot just let the lock go. Phoebe Phylo left the house how long ago and they are still trotting out every Paddington throwback they can come up with.
Chanel - strange, a Chanel ad that looks nothing like Chanel. Not in a good way, either
Miu Miu - very business-like messenger bag in a shade one would expect to see swiveling up from a lipstick tube. I think I like it, but what really catches my eye are the spectator pumps (love me some spectators) with socks and the soft coral leather skirt.
Devi Kroll - over-the-knee, bright, metallic gold snakeskin boots? *shudder*
Etienne Aigner - surprisingly chic silver clutch. In the detail photo, I see definite inspiration from Jimmy Choo's Mave clutch.
Devi Kroll for Target - they manage to make this clutch look okay in print, but in real life, it doesn't look anywhere near this good
Yves Saint Laurent - first of all, I love me some YSL handbags. This isn't my favorite, but it is a mock crocodile, another big trend for fall. Exotic skins continue to get hotter with no cooling trend in sight (and prices are going through the roof), so the mock trend is no surprise.
Oscar de la Renta - two stunningly elegant frame bags, one in silver snakeskin (looks too big to be python, maybe anaconda?) and one in what looks like navy blue mock croc. An editorial spread on frame bags begins 3 pages later. Accident? I think not.
Marc Jacobs - I'm happy that clutches are still going strong and while I rarely drool over Marc Jacobs bags, this little orange foldover clutch is definitely drool-worthy. (A quick google shows that it is also $1550. Yikes. Also, it isn't really little.)
Celine - the bag is interesting enough, but it's the rich leaf green color that catches my eye, along with the visible bit of fur collar. Fur has had quite a resurgence in the last 5 years or so.
Lucien Pellat-Finet - here's something unusual...a handbag designer I'm not familiar with. The bags featured in this ad look like Rebecca Minkoff's "Morning After" bag, only 10 times more refined. So I visit the website and I'm greeted with a language choice page with orange skulls and cannabis on a black background. Not what I was expecting given the refined look of the advertised handbags. Shades of Thomas Wylde.
Longchamp - more Kate Moss. Lovely black patent tote, a far cry from the nylon fold-up totes so associated with the brand.
Henry Beguelin - a lesser-known high-end bag designer It's hard to say what is the most unattractive part of this ad - the bag, the purple fur rug, the purple...sweater??, the necklace. It's all bad. This isn't even ugly in a captivating way.
Valextra - maybe the first ad I've ever seen for this company, which is known as the Italian Hermes. It is so restrained with a white bag on a white background that the bag itself is barely visible. I've seen these bags in person at Barneys and they are stunning.
Roberto Coin - nice to see Christy Turlington still working. (This reminds me that it was also a delight to see some of the biggest supermodels of the 90s walk during the Dior 60th anniversary show. And I turn 2 pages and there's an image of 2 models from that show, both sporting hyper-emphatic brows. This was probably my favorite show of the year; something from NY Fashion Week in 2 weeks might surpass it, but it's unlikely.)
A slew of jewelry ads. Almost all jewelry ads are horrible. I don't know who styles these things, but 9 out of 10 need serious help. I swear that in one a model is wearing obvious press-on nails.