between the tiny folds: bernie and the beast

The challenge for luxury brand advertisers is to demonstrate they are connected to reality and in tune, a degree of empathy to global welfare. Something other than the transparently self-serving elitists parlaying superficiality into grotesque profits. …

This was a really strange advertisement. The theme is very vague, but violence is predominant. Bernie Ecclestone of F1 fame and notoriety had his battered face mugging in an advertisement for Hublot Swiss watches. Ecclestone had been mugged in London in November 2010 and he was featured in a campaign that bore the tag line “See what people will do for a Hublot.”

---Thugs may relieve Bernie Ecclestone of his watch but F1's octagenarian boss will always get the last laugh. The watch violently pilfered was a Hublot, whose new ad carries the tagline: "See what people will do for a Hublot." Hublot is of course Formula One’s official watch sponsor.--- Read More:

Not surprisingly, the ad was criticized by   Victim Support. for apparently banalizing the incident and making light of some of the secondary effects attacks against the person can bring into play in terms of trauma based behavioral considerations.

Speaking on the BBC the Hublot CEO, Jean-Claude Biver explained how he thought the advert expressed his company’s social responsibility: “We have other responsibilities than to show people nicely with nice faces and bottom.. I think luxury has entered another [period] and has other responsibilities.” … “I believe that to show what people can do and to fight against violence is also one of our responsibilities” he explained. When asked by the BBC presenter how it was so, he said “it says sympathy to Bernie. Bernie is a little bit like Churchill in the last war.” … Unfortunately he said nothing about how this advert helps fight violence, simply saying “advertisement can sometimes be an educating tool.” So what is his company’s effort against violence? Read More:

---Here’s some news that you will not read about in any fashion publications, or on their websites: two days ago the British Advertising Standards Authority banned the latest Louis Vuitton advertising campaign in Britain, on the grounds that it falsely suggested that Louis Vuitton’s products are handmade. The two adverts, entitled ‘The Young Woman with the Tiny Folds’ and ‘The Seamstress with Linen Thread and Beeswax’ featured photographs of serene looking models (stylised almost to look like figures from a Vermeer painting) pretending to make Louis Vuitton products. The accompanying blurb asked such rhetorical questions as “What secret little gestures do our craftsmen discreetly pass on?” before concluding “Let’s allow these mysteries to hang in their air. Time will provide the answer.” Please excuse me while I gag.--- Read More:

But all this luxury advertising, whether Vuitton, or Gucci or Prada represents a mirror of Kafka’s view of human nature locked in a state, a chronic condition, of irreconcilable and ceaseless conflict. Kafka proposed a core of human goodness as the centerpiece of human nature. That is, a state of what could be termed spiritual innocence from which we have fallen in a hard landing, yet which still exists somewhere in the individual. Advertisers are experts at exploiting this zone with the association of luxury to paradise or a paradise lost; conditions that remain permanently desired, yet permanently out of reach.

In Kafka’s theory, reason and the senses truly want to recover, to reclaim, the lost but not forgotten state of bliss, but cannot. We can only create substitutes, pale proxies using the manipulation of memory and identity. To Kafka, bliss is unattainable. Because, belonging to this temporal reality, this world, they are intrinsically flawed. That sets off a chain, a sequence,where reason degenerates, sliding inexorably into self-serving connivance and the senses giving themselves incrementally, to self-indulgence. Maybe there is a link between the Marquis de Sade, Kafka and Louis Vuitton?…


Given that Hublot’s watches, such as the red gold ‘Big Bang’ watch, use gold, this lack of attention to ethical supply issues is a concern. The Associated Press has previously reported that about 5% of gold coming into Switzerland, and likely then being sold to luxury watch brands, is from bush mines in Western Africa, where children are employed in terrible conditions, using poisonous mercury in their very hands to separate the gold. To me that is violence…. The great efforts being made by the brands JEL and Brilliant Earth on fairtrade gold demonstrate progress can be made. The sponsoring of fairtrade gold initiatives by Tiffany and Cartier, shows that large brands are also interested in these developments….

---In some senses this glamorous image is harmless, as long as we recognize that it is an fabricated illusion designed to make us feel beautiful with every step, p

ded we wear Louis Vuitton shoes. But as Elizabeth Wilson pointed out in Adorned in Dreams: Fashion and Modernity, the fashion industry has a long history of exploiting workers, and an image such as this does not convince me that applying paint to the soles of shoes has now become a glamorous job. I appreciate craftsmanship, but the craftsmanship displayed here is a photographer’s, not a shoemaker’s.--- Read More:

…Mr Biver of Hublot agreed that “it can be counterproductive, and if so that’s good, if finally people don’t want to wear luxury because they are afraid of robbery then, why not, because at least we will have helped people not to buy. Today we have to be careful, we have to be aware of the danger of insecurity in our world.” As Hublot is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the luxury group LVMH, I wonder what Bernard Arnaut thinks of his staff saying such things about his shareholders’ assets. Perhaps he knows its just loose comments from a man who thinks it is just a bit of fun to be in the news. Instead he may see that this advert is not demonstrating a new ethic at all. Rather, it is actually an example of the old aim of luxury brand advertising – to tell people that something is desirable and valuable, by whatever means necessary. Therefore the Victim Support spokesperson complained that “Hublot is a luxury brand which seems to be making light of crime in order to sell a product.” Indeed, and contradicting himself, the Hublot CEO told the BBC at one point that this form of advertising “sells watches”. To do that by exploiting violence and then seeking cover through saying its all just a bit of fun, suggest something is seriously wrong at the heart of some luxury companies today. Read More:

---"I just blurted out, ‘I think we should do Madonna.' I was totally just blown away by it, and moved by her performance, by what she had to say, and her energy.” None of which comes across in this photo by Steven Meisel. According to LV's communications honcho, Antoine Arnaut, this series of 6 photos is groundbreaking for the luxury brand: It’s a big change from what we were doing. It tells a story. The story of a contortionist who's trapped in a Paris bistro, and can't get the attention of the waiter? The location is actual Figaro, here in LA on Vermont. Madona-vuitton1 And Madonna's no slouch in the creativity department herself--she suggested the fishnets. Jacobs, who really shouldn't be allowed to speak for himself, is thrilled with the results: Excepting the references and excepting the clichés, this still feels very today. And it didn’t feel so much like a fashion shoot, it feels like portraits.--- Read More:

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