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Insiders Weigh in on Spring’s Buzziest Ad Campaigns


Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West Photo: Courtesy of Balmain

The best time in fashion was when the top models were famous in the ’90s—Naomi [Campbell], Linda [Evangelista], Stephanie [Seymour], Kate [Moss]…they were icons, and every brand cast them in their campaigns,” says Balmain creative director Olivier Rousteing. “Back then, those models were an example of fashion, but today it’s the hip-hop stars who are more influential.”

[Tweet ““Kim and Kanye represent my new vision of the world.””]

That’s why Rousteing cast the most-talked-about couple on the planet, Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West, as his Spring 2015 menswear ad campaign stars. “Kim and Kanye represent my new vision of the world,” he says of the two, both of whom he considers to be close friends. “We are an old French house but with a young designer. With them [Kim and Kanye], I can show that what we do is still young and bring the brand to the next generation,” he says.

The reaction? If Instagram is your barometer for success, Kardashian West’s ’gram leaking the image of her and West kissing garnered 856K-plus likes. Their Balmain campaign, along with Joan Didion for Céline, Justin Bieber and Lara Stone for Calvin Klein, and Julia Roberts for Givenchy, is one of the buzziest campaigns of the Spring 2015 season.


Photo: Courtesy of Céline

When the photo of Didion in her black T-shirt and dark sunglasses came out earlier this month, “the fashion Internet quivered in a way it hasn’t at least since Kim Kardashian stripped nude for Paper magazine two months ago,” according to The New York Times. And that Bieber-Stone campaign reportedly added a combined 3.6 million followers to Calvin Klein’s social media channels since it was released (the same day as the Didion campaign). It even got its very own Saturday Night Live parody over the weekend.

[Tweet ““Justin was essentially born on the Internet; he was discovered on YouTube and is one of the most followed people on several platforms.””]

“We were hoping to be top of mind and incite a dialogue with the public, and that’s exactly what happened. We live in a world where consumer consumption is truly digital first,” Calvin Klein chief marketing officer Melisa Goldie tells “Justin was essentially born on the Internet; he was discovered on YouTube and is one of the most followed people on several platforms. We knew that we would increase engagement with a younger audience by featuring a talent like him—which is key to our brand and always has been.”

Though Rousteing claims that “social media is not so important” in his campaign casting decisions, the man certainly understands the power of a “like.” (Rihanna was the star of his Spring 2014 Balmain campaign. Enough said.) “Social media is a really generous way to share fashion. It’s like standing on the street and looking into the window of a fashion brand you can’t afford, but you can always look. I used to do that all the time,” he says. “With Instagram, you invite people inside to see the fashion, and Kim and Kanye are obviously quite strong with that.”

Celebrities and their massive social media sway might be dominating the conversation for the Spring 2015 campaign season (Madonna for Versace, Nicki Minaj for Roberto Cavalli, etc.), but real models need not start looking for a new day job. From Alexander Wang to Proenza Schouler to Prabal Gurung, plenty of designers dedicated their Spring campaigns to the catwalking professionals, too.


Courtesy of Alexander Wang

Wang, who debuted his campaign exclusively here on today, cast models of the moment like Anna Ewers, Binx Walton, Lexi Boling, Vanessa Moody, Dylan Xue, and Sarah Brannon for his brand’s party bus shoot. “These girls, most of whom have been in my campaigns for a couple of seasons now—I think it’s just to show that I really believe in them,” says Wang. “I always am a big advocate for models. In this moment, I just really felt that there’s a lot of great new faces, and could do something that really showed this authentic, genuine message of them hanging out, and also their relationship to the brand. And how fun they are.”

[Tweet ““I always am a big advocate for models. In this moment, I just really felt that there’s a lot of great new faces.””]

Marc Jacobs also recruited some of the industry’s top names for his latest crop of images, including Anja Rubik, Karlie Kloss, Adriana Lima, Joan Smalls, Anna Ewers, and Kendall Jenner. Says Rousteing, “A really interesting thing is happening with Kendall,” who he noticeably did not include in his Spring 2015 women’s model army. “She is a really strong girl with the beauty of a model, but with something to say…so is Gigi Hadid. I think it won’t be all celebrities forever.”

The pendulum will eventually swing back the other way (like everything in fashion usually does) toward model-centric campaigns, à la the days of Naomi and Kate, but for now the happy medium includes a dash of each. The Calvin Klein ad is a case in point.


Photo: Courtesy of Marc Jacobs

“Lara has a long-standing relationship with the house—she has been the face of many of our global advertising campaigns since Fall 2010—and Justin brought an exciting energy to the shoot,” says Goldie. “Lara definitely gave Justin some modeling pointers, especially when we shot the print images. When we started to shoot the commercial, Justin had some pointers for Lara.” Whether or not it will stand the test of time like Marky Mark and Moss’ iconic images, only time will tell.

—Kristin Tice Studeman,

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