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An American in Paris


A few years ago we had all the models complaining about the actresses (I know that’s not a PC term anymore…but so be it) being awarded the most important new beauty campaigns. It’s a sign of the times… it must be hard to be a European actress these days, as all the great appointments seem to be going to American “it girls”.

We all remember the controversy when Blake Lively was appointed as ambassador for the Chanel Mademoiselle handbag line. Blake, the quintessential Californian girl was seen by many in Europe as a poor choice for a prestigious house like Chanel and in direct contrast to their previous choices of quirky European beauties like Keira Knightly.

Kristen Stewart has just been appointed the face of the new Balenciaga fragrance Florabotanica in a campaign shot by Steven Meisel (see below).

The brand had previously used the European actress Charlotte Gainsbourg has the face of its Balenciaga Paris fragrance in their 2010 campaign also shot by Steven Meisel.

Phenomenal ★★★★ 

We love the strong, bold imagery in this campaign  and it’s quite a contrast to the softness of the Charlotte Gainsbourg campaign below.

‘I’m on the fence on this one…on one hand I see that the use of  Kristen Stewart is a perfect way for Balenciaga to leverage themselves with a younger American consumer. On the other hand I always loved the Charlotte Gainsbourg campaign and I think its fitting to have a European spokesperson for a European house. I’m also feeling a little sorry for all the Euro girls who must be finding it hard to get a gig these days’Hannah Brooks

What do you think…is this a case of inspired casting by Balenciaga…or is the brand just jumping on the American bandwagon?

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. As an American I am tired of our culture sweeping the earth and gobbling up the uniqueness of other countries and homogenizing or MacDonladizing the planet. I think for advertizing purposes you want a face and a name that is going to grab the vicarious imagination of the consumer. It is all about creating a dream of the product that the consumer wants to participate in. So in this case I don’t think it has much to do with Europe vs. America. At least I hope not.

    July 4, 2012
  2. Akiko #

    In this particular case, geo-politics aside, I think Kristen and Charlotte have a very similar vibe and work well for the Florabotanica campaign. I’ve heard the cries over models being perhaps ‘too much’ replaced by actresses for ad campaigns but you can’t really blame the companies — actresses have a little more meat on their public relation bones than models. They do stuff. Movie promo, interviews, social media, they carry a little more zeitgeist weight. Just being pretty seems a bit vacuous by today’s standards.

    October 29, 2013
    • Thanks for the thoughtful comment. I have worked for several brands whose “spokesperson” was much more a pretty face than a public speaker (and it was a problem). I still think there is currency in being a pretty face.

      October 30, 2013

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