Fashion and The Female Personality

I read with interest (and not just because she’s a friend, honest!) Esme Benjamin’s take on the new French Connection adverts. Writing over at the Fashion Editor At Large blog, where she and Grazia’s Melanie Rickey pour out their fashionable thoughts, Esme loved the brand’s post modern approach to winning over the public.

What I love about this ad campaign is that it cheekily mocks (and yet, still obviously loves) the pretension of editorials and the fashion image whilst simultaneously making us as viewers aware of the way the fashion ‘dream’ is delivered to us. And the most interesting thing, I think, is how that ‘dream’ is all tied up in defining a particular gender in a romanticised and precise manner. So, from the video campaign (that deliciously sends up French art-house cinema), we understand the Man is ’strong, virile, a brute’ and the Woman is highly desirable, yet independent.

What I find especially exciting about this campaign is that it gives a personality to the ‘dream’ woman in the campaign, and acknowledges that French Connection customers also possess personality… and a sense of humour! With this in mind, I was interested to read BitchBuzz’s latest fashion report that, when presenting their AW10 collection this London Fashion Week, Antoni & Alison chose to go over-the-top in their openness about the kind of woman they designed the pieces for.

As the lovely editor of BitchBuzz Cate Sevilla writes, the presentation (which had clothes for the writer, the country girl, and those ‘very good at maths’)was essentially about how Antoni & Alison have created a collection that tells women that they can do anything that they might deign to turn their hand to… or dress appropriately for. It’s an interesting idea. Is this fashion coming round to the idea that women actually have lives and do stuff when they are wearing clothes, rather than being passive clothes horses? Or is this yet more pressure for women to ‘look the part’ and play at dress-up (if she dresses like a martial artist, does it follow that she can perform the perfect judo-chop? Did she earn her black belt, or simply buy it?) I think the aim was for the former, and it was great to see Antoni & Alison picking up on the interests of women, and not simply labelling them ‘the sex-kitten’ or some other tired cliche.

Whilst the marketing idea of having a ‘Woman’ that a brand designs for has been around for donkey’s years, I think this new mini-trend for turning the notion on its head is a rather fascinating one… and I wonder whether we’ll be seeing more examples of it in the future.

By: Sarah Barnes, 24.02.2010 | Comments (0)
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