7 May 2010

Givenchy Autumn/Winter 2010/2011

The new Givenchy advertisements, photographed by Mert Alas & Marcus Piggott, feature a lesbian kiss (well, nearly!) and a transgender model (male to female).

A step forward toward greater awareness of the fluidity of sexuality and the breaking down of sexual stereotypes, or the objectification and commodification of sexual minorities for commercial gain?

Either way, I'm inclined to think some representation is better than no representation and that generally these images are very positive - especially considering Riccardo Tisci's clothes are to-die-for and these are stunning photographs ... (!)

The sooner we acknowledge on a societal, not just fashionable, level that lesbians, transgenders and other sexual minorities aren't depraved or genetically malformed, but are - like heterosexual or male - legitimate identities, the better off we will be.

It is significant that such an established house as Givenchy should create these images. Let's hope it's not merely a publicity stunt; let's hope other powerful designer brands and image-makers follow Givenchy's suit (pardon pun) and lead by example for the mass-market chains who reach wider audiences and thus can effect much wider change; let's hope this signals a new conception and depiction of sexuality as fluid, as changeable - as ultimately irrelevant?

Props to Givenchy, props to Mr. Tisci.

EDIT: Please read the comments (link below) for a valuable response from activist Daisy Farnham. I'd love to hear what people think!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

and what about the marc jacobs/juergen teller campaign starring cole mohr (dressed in the women's collection?)

10 May, 2010 15:31  
Blogger Eleanor said...

A response worth noting from Daisy Farnham:

"hmm. i'm inclined to think of it more- as you say 'objectification and commodification of minorities for commercial gain'. i suppose the presence of gay imagery should be welcomed, and the fact that this image has been produced is a testament to the broader acceptance of gay people in society today as opposed to eg 50 yrs ago (which is thanks to ... See morethe civil rights movments that challened homophobia on a mass scale). but i dont think we should be looking to fashion houses to popularise images of chic gay people to challenge homophobia.

i think this promotes a sexist caricature of lesbianism for Givenchy's market gain, as opposed to a genuine attempt to show the masses of society that homosexual relations are legitimate/normal/good. 2 glamorous women kissing is a particularly problematic image given the sexism that often comes with it- the extreme objectification of women, rather than an appreciation of their sincere intimacy.

in this context, where people's bodies are being used to sell products and a particular idea of what is attractive is being promoted i dont think there is much scope for challenging widely held notions about sexuality and gender. the commercial aims of fashion houses will inevitably lead them to replicate ideas in society rather than promoting images of liberated sexuality free from any valuation.

the very purpose of modelling occludes the possibility of deconstructing ideas about what is attractive, therefore any image of this nature will be imbued with valuation on the basis of appearance that will distort any attempt to present a more 'progressive' understanding of gender/ sexuality.

in my opinion, what is needed more than images of suave gays in haute couture, is a social movement which effectively engages the majority of society in challenging the structural homophobia that exists in society. this is quite lengthy- lets talk more on this one - im interested in your thoughts.."

What do people think?

11 May, 2010 11:45  
Anonymous daniel said...

I think advertising is not particularly authentic and of course it lacks an appreciation of sincere intimacy that exists. One interesting way this is carried out is that if we see adds for hetty relations (think "Country Road" circa 1990s) subjects in the photos tend to look at each other, romance etc. I might be my bad memory but when ever non-Hetty stuff is portrayed it always seems at the level of performance. So with the above picture their heads are not exactly comfortable and looking slightly towards camera.

Marieke Hardy started a brand in Melbourne in the 1990s that attempted to challenge this aspect of performance, maybe there is an example of another type of advertising. But I haven't seen that stuff.

12 May, 2010 02:49  
Blogger Fashion By He said...

those ads are awesome, cool blog

come follow the first ever fashion blog from a guys POV, let He know what you think


13 May, 2010 20:34  
Blogger Le Jardin said...

kinda cool kind of reminds me of dolce and gabbana though.

visit, leave your mark, follow?

19 May, 2010 00:20  

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