Miley by Marc

Maybe 2014 will prove different for Miley Cyrus.

Last year, she was the centre of chatter and controversy for outrageous behaviour and wardrobe choices (including Terry Richardson-associated visuals and wrecking balls, and foam fingers and Robin Thicke escapades at the 2013 MTV EMA.)

This January the topic of conversation is how Miley is not just wearing clothes for Marc Jacobs, but advertising them. In response to this casting call, longtime Jacobs collaborator and fashion photographer Juergen Teller bowed out of shooting the Spring/Summer 2014 campaign, Jacobs saying that Teller “just didn’t want to shoot her.”

Though Teller continued to shoot other Jacobs-associated campaigns such as Marc by Marc Jacobs Spring/Summer 2014, David Sims shot the campaign starring Cyrus, having also shot Jacobs’ beauty campaign. Longtime collaborator Katie Grand styled the campaign.

Aren’t we just making an issue out of nothing? Teller’s consistently professional relationship with Jacobs indicates no hard feelings – just a personal choice not to take on a particular assignment, and Sims has a history of working with the brand.

Sims portrayed the moody, broody, dark tones of the Spring collection in the campaign, and compared to the Fall/Winter 2013 campaign, there isn’t too much of an aesthetic jolt of differentiation.

When viewed singularly, the campaign is alright. If we want to forget the cause célèbre and examine the image, the choice of setting on a dark beach sets it apart from the usual scene, but does it do an adequate job selling the brand? A Jacobs client is probably attracted to the outlandish creativity as an element of distinction from someone wearing Calvin Klein, for example.

When taking a broader perspective of the campaign, the lack of pulsating innovation and creativity is relevant; previous campaigns starring Lily McMenamy, Edie Campbell or Ruby Jean Wilson (shot by Teller) really stopped the viewer in their tracks. The ways in which the geometric patterns or marvelous fur hats from prior collections were handled made a phenomenal visual impact.

Celebrity advertising campaigns – the recent Lady Gaga/Versace campaign for example – draw attention to the brand and tend to stir up media attention. Cyrus is not a model; celebrities often mimic a model and never really bring to the table the same poised quality that an excellent model possess – such is the nature of celebrity campaigns.

In this case, Jacobs has spoken publicly about his admiration of Cyrus – the two have worked together on t-shirts with the proceeds going to the NYU Skin Cancer Institute, and Cyrus credits Jacobs for her style makeover.

Jacobs and Cyrus have fostered a creative relationship and he wants to put her in a campaign; that shouldn’t come as surprise. The designer has also included other celebrities in previous campaigns.

Personally, I don’t mind the star in general, and I think the online reaction to the campaign is making something out of nothing.

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