Cara Delevingne didn’t retire from modelling for long did she? So far she’s popped up in a new Chanel eyewear campaign photographed by Karl Lagerfeld and now she’s pouting the face of the new Saint Laurent La Collection de Paris campaign.
For the 42-piece couture collection that was shown, bizarrely, during Paris RTW Fashion Week, Slimane has selected the four highest-profile pieces. Delevingne was photographed by the creative director himself in a way that almost feel like a tribute to Yves saint Laurent’s own 1970s heyday (just think of all those Helmut Newton campaigns and editorials from back then).
News of the campaign broke on Twitter. Where else, apart from Instagram, does anything break these days? It’s interesting given that this is a collection not just out of the reach of most of us, but even those women who regularly take delivery of giant Net-A-Porter bags. Couture costs money, big money, so it might seem that breaking campaign news via the most populist of social media sites and ensuring the pictures are everywhere is the opposite of the exclusive image that couture has.
But couture is also about bling (hate the word, but it works so well). Like those gold supercars in Knightsbridge yesterday, if you can afford it, you want people to know, so maximum publicity is unlikely to alienate customers.
And of course, there’s the overall brand building exercise. Couture historically (at least in recent decades) was a lossmaking operation that acted as a brand’s most luxurious shop window. While Domenico DeSole and Tom Ford dropped YSL couture when Gucci Group took over the brand more than a decade ago, its revival is as much a testament to the importance of a an ultra-luxe image as any belief that couture can actually make money as a standalone operation.
Tempting one of the world’s top models (who can be as choosy as she likes about the campaigns she appears in), is a major part of that brand process, just as yesterday’s news about Jane Birkin for Saint Laurent was.