Brochures advertising clothing, appeared at the end of the 19th century and served as the main promotion tool for department stores that offered fabrics for tailoring actual outfits. However, the real boom of catalogs fell on the development of prêt-à-porter lines - along with fashion publications, they were responsible for promoting trends, and at the same time unrealistic ideas about beauty. For the generation that grew up in post-Soviet Russia, the expression “fashion catalog” evokes nostalgic associations with the “bricks” of Otto and La Redoute, which each of us flipped through in the mail queue at least once. In 2019, Otto's once-incredibly progressive shots are more like stereotypical stock photos like laughing women with a bowl of salad. We will tell you what modern catalogs look like - and why they are so strikingly different from those that were released in the 90s and 2000s.
Text: Anna Aristova
«In search of really important information, I decided to look at the new September campaigns - the ones that should inspire us to buy, - wrote photographer and illustrator Garanz Dore on her blog. - Everywhere it was the same - young and photoshopped models, hanging in geometric poses in uncomfortable and too perfect clothes. And then I went to the Zara website and found Emeline Walad, Carmen Kass and other coolest women of all ages (still skinny, so we are not in a hurry to open champagne) there. And then I saw them - slightly regrown light roots of Emeline's soft hair, freckles on Carmen's perfect face, wrinkles on Georgina's stunning face … At that moment I just wanted to scream: “What's going on !!! It's so cool !!! “You know, fashion has changed and will never be the same - brands that we used to call 'real fashion' are no longer able to breathe life into their image (okay, there are a couple of exceptions), so when 'fast fashion' throws away everything that is unnecessary and hires as models of cool women, it is immediately inspiring."
This is true - over the past few years, the changes have become dramatic. More and more brands appear that shoot women in their lookbooks who do not look like conventional models, but resemble the designers themselves and their girlfriends. And unrealistic retouching in advertising, which was previously perceived as something that goes without saying, became a reason not only for criticism, but also, in some countries, for a fine. Big brands also realized that to inspire a buyer to buy, it is not enough to show a conventional product on a boring white background and a fifteen-year-old model - this approach is hopelessly outdated.
Unrealistic retouching in advertising, which was previously perceived as something that goes without saying, became an excuse
not only for criticism, but also, in some countries, for a fine
In the era of overproduction and "52 microseasons a year" clothing (paradoxically for the fashion industry) fades into the background, and what marketers call "storytelling" plays a decisive role. It is enough to look at Simon Porta Jacquemus to see the effect of a correctly told story. The success of storytelling is usually about consistency: the story should run through all brand assets - no wonder this approach has made its way to catalogs as well. “Lookbooks for me are a very important tool with which I can present the narrative of my collections. I don’t run traditional catwalks and presentations yet, so this is the most interesting way for me to get my ideas across,”designer Rosetta Getty, who recently unveiled a cruise collection lookbook shot at the Getty Art Conservation Institute, told Man Repeller. Rosetta Getty represents a new generation of women designers who are reimagining modern clothing for urban women.She, like no one else, understands that her aesthetics of "uneasy simplicity" and "new kofmort" should first of all be expressed in photo projects.
Mix in the vibe from the right stylist and photographer, and you get a fun visual story that sells well. Content Matters is not only the name of Ezra Petronio's storytelling agency, but it looks like the future of the industry as well.
And if the team does not have an original designer with outstanding ideas, then who should you turn to for the right storytelling, if not the teams of fashion magazines that have been doing this for decades? It is not surprising that more and more often it is they who take up the reanimation of lookbooks of specific brands. For example, the shooting of mass-market giant Zara is stylized by a cult figure in the fashion industry, fashion director M le magazine du Monde and co-founder of Self-Service magazine Susan Koller, she works with set designer Valerie Weil (in addition to Zara, she deals with mastodons like Hermès) and the equally famous photographer Bibi Borthwick, who has collaborated with Vogue, CR Fashion Book and Dazed. For the first Arket lookbook, stylist Jody Barnes was responsible for publications like Pop and Document.
“A lot of catalogs now look like magazines,” the Business of Fashion journalist Caitlin Chen aptly notes, quoting Colin Nagy, head of strategic planning at creative agency FF New York: “Quality content in catalogs now sells not only the product, but also“a look at world, vibe ". Another plus of such "editorial" content with an unusual view of the world in its versatility - this can be used not only on the site, but also in social networks.
Storytelling success is usually concluded
in sequence: the story should run like a red thread through all brand assets - no wonder this approach has made its way to catalogs
Plus, editors keep up with the agenda, which makes the new lookbooks look so fresh. Garanz Dore notes that thanks to the work of the art director and co-founder of Self-Service, Ezra Petronio, there is also an incomparable feeling when you see yourself in models. As it turned out, many customers find it more pleasant to look at the cheerful Paloma Elsesser or the strong Aven Meyen Chuol than on the retouched models that almost do not resemble real women.
Not so long ago, we said that according to statistics, “71% of women would like the media to broadcast images of different women,” because it is easier to associate with them. At one time, the Fashion Nova brand, praising women of different sizes, or the body-positive catalog of the Aerie underwear brand, which attracted women in a wheelchair with type 1 diabetes mellitus, vitiligo, Down syndrome, fibromyalgia and others, made a big splash in social networks. features.
PHOTOS: Zara (1, 2), Mango