A/W18 Fashion, Seen Through the Lens of the New Campaigns

Gucci A/W18, Gucci CollectorsPhotography by Glen Luchford

Transporting us from the Las Vegas strip to not-quite-real landscapes

Though current near-tropical climes might make the coming of the winter season appear a particularly far-off concept, the perennially onward-moving fashion industry is already celebrating the imminent A/W18 season with a new round of campaigns. And, as you might expect from the fruits of the industry’s brightest talents, they are typically transporting, taking the viewer from the great outdoors to a suburban living room – and setting the tone for the upcoming season in the process.

1. Gucci (above)

An excuse for hoarding, if ever there was one – Gucci’s A/W18 campaign, ‘Gucci Collectors’ captures Alessandro Michele’s coterie among an amassed collection of vintage objects, numbering piles of plush teddy bears, chintzy porcelain figurines, wigs, toy cars and cuckoo clocks. The oftentimes bizarre pieces – spot the taxidermy monkey – provide a suitably obscure backdrop to an arcane A/W18 outing from Michele, which, over the course of 90 looks, encompassed babushka headscarves, spangled showgirl bralettes, 1980s corporate power suiting – and even saw a “dragon puppy” (entirely lifelike, care of an Italian special effects studio) carried in a model’s arms in lieu of a handbag. According to the house, the campaign itself – photographed by long-time Michele collaborator Glen Luchford – sets to champion “the notion that those who the mainstream often considers to be oddballs are frequently the most interesting and creative people, and that true individuality is a badge of pride”. A rally call, of sorts, from a house which delights in a rejection of the quotidian.

2. Dior

Beatnik details and French Nouvelle Vague film collide in Dior’s A/W18 campaign. Which is little surprise, given that the artistic director was inspired by an enduring passion for the work of Jean-Luc Godard – not least Une Femme est Une Femme. “I have always loved Godard’s movies, his ability to provide a showcase for beautiful female characters,” Chiuri explains – “contemporary heroines balanced between tradition and the desire to escape, between aspirations, dreams and reality.” In Anna Karina’s unforgettable protagonist Angela, Chiuri identifies a dynamic, irrepressible, multi-faceted and engaged woman, whose penchant for noisy knits (think: that “c’est non, non, non et NON!” jumper) and (we’re certain) propensity to gravitate towards a protest, whatever the worthy cause, makes her the ultimate Dior femme. Pamela Hanson photographs the women of the season in gesture, in conversation, in motion, and subtitled as they walk down one of Paris’ archetypal paved streets. Most importantly, they are in action, and they have something to say – and given that more than a little of the spirit of 68 pervaded this strong collection, this seems only right.

3. Miu Miu

Miuccia Prada’s A/W18 collection for Miu Miu recalled the photographs of Karlheinz Weinberger, who, in relative obscurity, captured disaffected denim and leather-clad Swiss youth in the 1960s. The accompanying campaign, photographed by Alasdair McLellan, finds similar beginnings, though here Mrs Prada’s bouffant-haired bad girls are displaced into a mid-century suburban living room, replete with a plethora of desirable jewel-toned velvet upholstery. In usual Miu Miu style, the campaign counts both models and actresses among its line-up – sisters Adwoa and Kesewa Aboah, Georgia May Jagger, Ariel Nicholson, Zoe Thaets, Elle Fanning, Rowan Blanchard and Raffey Cassidy all star.

4. JW Anderson

Never one to rest on its laurels (see S/S16’s postage stamp-sized ads, and A/W17’s crochet squares for two fine examples) Jonathan Anderson’s eponymous brand shook up fashion campaigns as we know them this season by doing away with traditional methods of selecting a photographer altogether. Instead, the house announced an open call competition for the talents of the future, and called it Your picture / Our future. Of the 2,000 entries received, 50 finalists were long-listed, and three finally selected by an all-star cast including Benjamin Bruno, Amanda Harlech, Jo-Ann Furniss and Tim Blanks, among others. “Sometimes you realise that you can’t really build your own thing without your own generation,” Anderson told Jack Moss on the occasion of the show’s opening back in May. “I love all the great photographers, but JW Anderson’s a young brand, so I think it’s important that we have a younger voice again. Jamie [Hawkesworth] brought that to the brand and now Jamie goes on to do what he does and then we find someone else. You can’t always be in awe of the past, you need to find out what the future is.”

The winning entries? UK-based Julie Greve (above), Russia’s Yelena Beletskaya and American Simons Finnerty – who captured a compelling, languorous girlhood, smoke-filled forest scenes and cheeky self-portraiture respectively. Enjoy the work of these three emerging talents on the pages of magazines, billboards and on signage as they belong: we’re certain this won’t be the last we see of them.

5. Holland & Holland

There’s an almost palpable earthiness that underpins all of the imagery Stella Tennant and Isabella Cawdor’s Holland & Holland shares – and A/W18’s offering, a hazy golden hymn to the beauty of the world outside, is no different. Bathed in a soft light and swathed in cosy wool pieces, Tennant (who better to embody the outdoorsy Holland & Holland woman?) clambers over grassy hills and sandy beaches. It’s almost enough to make you ache for cloudy skies and a brisk breeze.

6. Prada

An unexpected appearance from RuPaul’s Drag Race alum and crowned season seven winner Violet Chachki – here dressed as Marilyn Monroe – comes mid-way through Prada’s illusory A/W18 campaign film by photographer Willy Vanderperre. Taking place on Las Vegas’ Sunset Strip, the city’s radiant skyline provides a particularly fitting backdrop for a logo-heavy collection punctuated with luminescent neon tones (in this spirit, the film is titled Prada Neon Dream). Other notable cameos come from American Horror Story’s Sarah Paulson, who appears in several incarnations over the course of the four-minute film, including a valet and cocktail waitress, and model Amanda Murphy who is Neon Dream’s mysterious Prada-clad protagonist.

7. Alexander McQueen

Alexander McQueen takes to the “mythical and free-spirited” San Francisco for its sun-drenched A/W18 campaign. Standing among the landmarks of that hilly city – the Golden Gate Bridge emerges just behind Shanelle Nyasiase dressed in a fluttering, feathered pink gown – Jamie Hawkesworth shoots the brand’s butterfly-centric collection. (Incidentally, Nyasiase aptly describes herself as ‘Queen of Butterflies’ in her Instagram bio.) “Butterflies and bugs, and paradise found rather than lost,” Sarah Burton said of her lepidopterous A/W18 collection, which saw the patternings of myriad kinds of butterflies, beetles and moths transposed onto jacquards and silks, and jackets and corsets rendered with wing-like sleeves and feathery pelmets. The move, then, from England to San Francisco for this season’s campaign is a fitting metamorphosis for the McQueen woman: according to the brand, she “is at once respectful of and at one with her environment, appearing almost to emerge from it like a dazzling butterfly or moth”.

8. Saint Laurent

Proof that sometimes a campaign needs little more than Kate Moss and a tropical locale for success – though a puff-shoulder sequinned gown, courtesy of Anthony Vaccarello’s pneumatic 1980s-tinged A/W18 collection for Saint Laurent, certainly helps. (Think: an altogether more glamorous incarnation of her cameo in the Absolutely Fabulous movie, where she emerges from the Thames, champagne glass still in hand – though this time, a perfectly clear ocean surf.) Photographed by Inez & Vinoodh, it continues a fruitful collaboration between Moss and Vaccarello since he took helm of the Parisian house – the model was photographed by David Sims for Saint Laurent’s S/S18 campaign, while an accompanying film directed by Nathalie Canguilhem saw her dangling semi-clad from a helicopter.

9. Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood

Plastic bottle crates, LED graphics, a paddling pool and a giant projection of a small fluffy dog all feature in the Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood A/W18 campaign, which, according to the former designer, “expresses the time we’re in, and does it with humour, which is important, it’s sophisticated too”. Westwood herself also stars in the campaign (before a projection that aligns to give her a unicorn horn and lion’s tail), as does Kronthaler, alongside a host of models and artists who have previously appeared in the brand’s shows, the likes of which include Matty Bovan and Joe Sweeney.

10. Calvin Klein

Clad in the knitted balaclavas, hi-vis orange and Hazmat-style suiting that was much-documented in Calvin Klein’s popcorn-strewn A/W18 show, models inhabit a bizarre, not-quite-real landscape in the house’s latest campaign. Raf Simons describes the collection as “an allegory for a meeting of old worlds and new worlds, relating to the discovery of America, the 1960s Space Race, and the 21st century information age”, speaking to the multifarious references he distilled for his all-American show. The dream-like, otherworldly Willy Vanderperre-lensed campaign reflects this amalgamation of decades, places and cultural milestones, with faces like Julia Nobis, Freja Beha and Erin O’Connor dotted around the scene. The setting does exist, in Utah – or does it? The house encourages us to wonder, as a floating Star Wars-esque rocky island hovers above a woman dressed in prairie skirts and hi-vis heels.

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