And the new face of Prada's A/W 2011 men's campaign is (keep banging that drum Miuccia)...
Yes, for their new campaign Prada have chosen a satorially-advanced Spiderman (or Spiderglam? Anyone?); I think it's fair to say Maguire isn't an obvious choice. He's not particularly celebrated for his looks in the same way that, say, Brad Pitt or Johnny Depp are, and he hasn't been in the limelight properly since his titular role in Spiderman. But I think it's a good choice from Prada - Maguire was a brilliant Spiderman at that (those films were ridiculously good, we can forget about the third one), and with a main role in Baz Lurhmann's production of The Great Gatsby, maybe Prada have been prudent in foreseeing his reemergence. He may not be the trendy go-to guy, but I think this is definitely an advantage. If you were to see, for example, Brad Pitt as the face of such a campaign, I don't think it would work - Prada wouldn't want to opt for the mainstream choice. In Toby Maguire, they have a clearly talented actor as an ambassador of their company who hasn't been splashed across "Hello" every week and who we don't know everything about (yet.)
But this got me thinking: celebrities have really had prominent roles in advertising over the last few years. It's just emerged in the news that Angelina Jolie was paid ten million dollars for her recent Louis Vuitton campaign. Marc Jacobs has enlisted the help of Helena Bonham Carter for his A/W campaign. Maybe this surge is because after seeing celebrities act or hearing their songs the consumer feels a closer connection with the product, as opposed to seeing a skeletal pouting glossy-eyed model whose face will be forgotten with the flick of a page. With celebrities, people feel they know them, have a relationship with them, which is of course nonsense but no less true. American Vogue is both lauded and loathed for regularly featuring said specimen on their covers, their latest cover star Emma Watson being a prime example. Is the age of the model over?
In short: no. Let's not get ahead of ourselves. It's these "instantly forgettable pouting glossy-eyed models" which have graced our advertisements since advertisements were invented. That's why models are models: their faces aren't forgettable, they're (grab your sick bag) "unique" (I apologise I really do). The amount of times my friends have slated the gap-toothed Georgia May Jagger ("I wouldn't" being an example of said rejection.) A facebook group going as far as to say (referring to her Rimmel campaign) "Get the London look? Get a brace." Not cool man. But it's these faces which keep us talking, which fascinate us. Was the supermodel sensation of the nineties due to such "forgettable pouting glossy-eyed models"? Of course not! Thanks rhetorical question! Yes, we don't have the same "connection" with models as we do with celebrities, but that's just the nature of their job - they're models, they pose for photographs and walk, that's their job description. This detachment is often a good thing. Celebrities are, by their nature, celebrated. They're in the public eye, and this can work against them. When we see an advertisement, we should be transported, awestruck - if we know their every move, know where they're dining every night, have seen pictures of their wedding in OK (if you look close enough you can see the pound signs in their eyes). The magic is well and truly taken away.
Models shouldn't be quaking in their boots just yet. It'd be silly to even suggest it. Realistically, probably one out of every fifteen advertisements features a celebrity, especially in those of high fashion. But it would be equally silly to deny the increasing presence and influence of celebrity in advertisements, and ultimately in our lives. This isn't a ground breaking discovery, as my dad regularly reminds me, we've been an "OK" country for years (amongst other ramblings regarding the youth of today etc. etc.) Celebrity isn't by any means a new concept. Maybe it's just a phase, and if something is popular there's a backlash within a few years. Sit tight Naomi.
UPDATE: Forgot to mention, Hailee Steinfeld, who played Mattie Ross (excellently) in the Coen Brothers' True Grit is the new face of Miu Miu, and will front their A/W campaign. Told ya.