Tuesday, 9 March 2010

This is the advert

Can somebody cooler than me – and here you must suspend your disbelief, for I'm telling you that these people really do exist – explain the concept behind this season's French Connection adverts?

If you haven't seen them, they focus on a man, who is called 'the man', and a woman, who is called 'the woman', and they feature a series of pictures and some artfully emotionless slogans.

'The woman' is chic, gamine and just the right amount of hunted cartoon woodland animal.

'No, hunters, don't shoot me! While it will enable my son to experience a character-defining rite of passage, it will traumatise thousands of young cinema-goers all over the world.'

The man, meanwhile, is brooding and bearded in a way that goes beyond the type who might be sexily taciturn and build you some furniture out of reclaimed wood, and out the other side into Tom Hanks in Cast Away.

And I speak as someone who LOVES Tom Hanks. He collects typewriters. What is not to love?

I feel that perhaps French Connection are channelling some masterpiece of French cinema that I have never seen. I think I mostly think this because a number of the slogans sound like they are written by someone doing a bad impression of Jean-Paul Gaultier. Who is French.

But wait – some are written like Peter & Jane Go To The Advertising Agency.

What is in the model's bag? A cake. The model likes cake. She does not eat cake. 'I eat cake,' says Peter. 'I eat cake but then feel wracked with guilt and self-loathing afterwards,' says Jane.

Never mind, Peter and Jane, today we will be learning about questions.

Reassuringly, though, some of the adverts do incorporate a modern staple of style speak – what I call the diminished fashion plural.

The shoulder is very special.

I'm wearing a daytime sequin.

I'm teaming this trouser with a heel.

With my generously-proportioned lower body, I simply can't do a skinny jean.

And so on.

But while the shoulder may be special this season, good shoulder health is apparently OUT for spring/summer 10. Look at this:

This is how she stands, is it? Well, edgy fashion stylists, how she stands will one day culminate in this beautiful young lady – who admittedly needs to get that hair out of her eyes because you can't see that pretty face – becoming the kind of pensioner who cannot elevate her upper body higher than 90 degrees to the pavement.

Fashion stylists seem hell-bent on jamming models into this kind of pose. But why? Because they are wreaking some kind of bitter, jealous vengeance on those extraordinary, elegant, elongated young bodies? Because it's cool?

Hear this, stylists. Bad posture = not cool.

I have yet to see a hunchback in Dazed & Confused magazine.

I have yet to read Dazed & Confused magazine, if I'm absolutely honest.

Here's another pouting uber-slouch:

French Connections's summer must-have? The bright floral shift-dress. Mine? Lower lumber support.

The final advert that I have hamfistedly scanned reflects my own reaction to the campaign…


Big Brother said...

More importantly, why is the woman slouching in the very self same deckchair that our grandparents had, and if I'm not mistaken is now hanging up somewhere in our mother's garage? The deckchair hanging up, not the model... Might have to go and check this evening.

Anonymous said...

Astonishing. Increasingly I feel like I might as well just give up with fashion and spend my life in those M&S shoes with zips up the side and loose trousers with elasticated waist-bands. Sorry, that's a shoe and a trouser, obviously.

I give up. I'm off to have a special moment with my shoulder.

Cx said...

At least not yet have they ascribed a gender to different items of clothes ... a shoe is a she as in "Ooh she's nice, look at the sparkles on her heel". A dress is a she; "wow, she makes you look amazing". Boots are often a him.

Fashion Editors know the sex of every item in their wardrobe. I do not.

Maybe that will be French Connections campaign of winter

rich said...

I must admit that I quite like the French Connection campaign.

I thought the photography was good and The Man's beard was impressive.

I even caught myself thinking 'hmm, nice jacket' once or twice, whilst silently cursing the fact that I'd fallen for their marketing tricks.

Does that make me 'cool'?

More to the point, should I get a beard like that bloke's?

Holly said...

She is knowing we are looking.

Not even Janet and John would have let that sentence through.

Salvador said...

The man looks a bit like Joaquin Phoenix. In his crazy rather than Gladiator incarnation. "She is knowing we are looking" is definitely a catchphrase in the making.

Salvador said...

Also I'd say less Jean Paul Gaultier and more Rene from Allo Allo.

Miss Jones said...

Maybe The Man is more Cantona in his 'seagulls/trawler' incarnation. I can't remember if he had a beard at that point.

Rich, as you may know, I think you should definitely grow a similar beard, and we could monitor its progress right here on this blog, comparing bristle length, colour, bushiness, and how much more stylish you feel in proportion to its growth. Your wife seems less keen on this vital fashion experiment however.

rich said...

Don't tempt me. I have previous form in this field.

Jenny will not thank you for encouraging me.

Anonymous said...

This is *a lot* like Jørgen Leth's short film "The Perfect Human" (1967). Check it out on the Tubes Of You: hipster interest in this gem was resurrected in the last couple of years by its inclusion in Lars Von Trier's doco "The Five Obstructions" (2003).

Hellsy_Bells said...

Isn't 'the man' French Rugby god Chabal?

Louise said...

He looks like Ray Lamontagne at his most beardy.

Mr I Have Lots of Money said...

Whevener I see the poster that says, "This is the woman" I think, "No, it's not. It's not a woman, it's a young girl."

She looks like she's about 16. Probably younger.

glummdead said...

Every time I see these ads, well, the "Man" ad, I want to whip out my black marker and customise the poster so that it reads.

This is A man. (with a beard)