Lanvin Fall 2012 Ad Campaign

Posted on July 20, 2012

Darlings, here’s your pretty to close out the week: the Lanvin Fall 2012 ad campaign, starring “real people.” We’ll let WWD do the explaining:

“Alber Elbaz is keeping it real for Lanvin’s fall advertising campaign. Rather than models of the moment, Elbaz went for real women and men, ranging in age from 18 to 80.

The human panorama, captured by photographer Steven Meisel in New York, ranges from regal to punkish — and there’s even a fluffy white pooch amid a jumble of shoes and handbags strewn about an apartmentlike setting. Creative direction was by Ronnie Cooke Newhouse and Stephen Wolstenholme of House + Holme.

“I was interested to bring these clothes back to the street somehow, and seeing how they look on different ages, different sizes,” Elbaz told WWD. “It felt like a crazy family, and I like that.”

Sure, they’re all kind of uncommonly attractive for “real people,” but there’s something kind of arresting about the images. Attractive or not, they look different from the usual cookie-cutter fashion imagery and that’s refreshing. Enjoy, kittens.



[Photo Credit: Steven Meisel for via]

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  • This is fascinating. I can’t seem to take my eyes off the pictures. And the clothes are amazing too. 

    • mjude

      i totally agree. 

  • The men are all interesting and “different” looking.  The women all look like models.  Typical.

    • Exactly. I got excited for a minute when I thought they might show a lady with ass or boobs or something looking amazing in a designer dress. Nope. 

      •  The fact remains that they’re running a business and trying to sell clothes.  Those clothes look best on a certain body type.  No one wants to buy a strapless dress if they realize it’s going to make the back fat bunch up…(I have no strapless dresses)

        • :)


        • Sure, but don’t get our hopes up by saying you’re going to use “real” people. The fashion industry has already done a pretty thorough job of making us hate our own bodies (case in point, you won’t wear a strapless dress because you’re worried about “back fat”) — this just adds insult to injury. 

    • Summer On The Beach

       Couldn’t agree more, Mary.  The women are different ages, yes, but the very young girl is the only one who looks like she might possibly be under 5’9″, and they’re all very thin.  I am glad to see women of different ages in a fashion shoot, though.  The woman in the teal dress strikes me as being the likely demographic of a Lanvin consumer!

      • BazoDee

        The woman in teal is 82 IIRC – she had always dreamed of being a model but was told she was too dark. 

        • Warmheartedgirl Seattle

          She is gorgeous and so regal looking!  I would love to hear the story of her life.  I like the entire series of photographs.  Certainly different than seeing young models making the same damned poses and half opened mouths.

          • Elizabeth Davis

            I can’t take my eyes off her. Someone needs to use her for an entire campaign — she’s the epitome of what a model should be.

          • there is a story of her ( her name is Jacquie “Tajah” Murdock) and her life on Fashionista com, she said strangers ask her “can I take your pictures” all the time, and one photographer & blogger recommend her to participate the campaign. her grandson then made a suggetion that she should make a t-shirt with scripts:  “dont ask, just take a picture of me”  there is a 62 year old Campaign star also looks great!

        • littlemac8

          How do you know this?  I’m fascinated!  

          • Also:

      • alyce1213

        The woman in teal lives very modestly in Greenwich Village, NYC.  She was a dancer at the Apollo Theatre for many years. She is not at all “the likely demographic of the Lanvin consumer” — I seriously doubt she could afford or would pay all that dough for anything Lanvin.  

        I know this because I know her — we lived in the same apartment building for over 20 years.  She is neither overweight nor average-looking, but she is in fact very truly a REAL, REAL PERSON!

        • Scarlet39

          Thank you for sharing that!  She’s absolutely mesmerizing!

        • Summer On The Beach

           By “likely demographic” I meant that it’s far more likely that a woman of a certain age could afford to and would want to purchase Lanvin clothing than a teenager… we all know that most models aren’t even old enough to buy their own champagne. 

          She looks amazing, and I never would have guessed she’s 82!

    • AudreysMom

       I know. Real people. Please. In every case but 2 (both men) these are not the real people I would know. And the other guy looks like a model in costume for a community theater.

      Still the clothes are cool – I esp like the red dress on Real Person #3. 

      • alyce1213

        I know one of them and she’s real.  Very.

    • j_anson


    • alyce1213

      These women look like typical models?  I don’t think so.

    • pookiesmom

      YES. Exactly. Is there anyone in here who isn’t a size two?

  • argonauticos

    Love this campaign! Just wish I knew who they were 🙂

  • yay stella rose! I love this ad campaign. (now where do I sign up to be in the next one??)

  • These are great photos — and for “real people,” they’re all still very attractive, or striking. More importantly, I like that they used a wide range of ages for their models.

    Either way, nice change from the standard models, who really all look just alike to me. 

  • LaylaSV

    Stunning and inherently more mysterious than watching the usual cast of characters give us their best stare into the middle distance. I crave back story.

  • Judy_J

    Love the concept of using “real people” as opposed to models.  They all acquitted themselves very well.  And the clothes are lovely, too.

  • SapphoPoet

    The men all look very different; the women still look like models (although slightly better-fed models). Still, an interesting concept. 

  • Martova

    Unless the Lanvin people are coming into my office and scooping up the sad sack suburbanites I work with I refuse to acknowledge this spread as representing “real people”. 

  • poggi

    I don’t see the different sizes so much as ages, but I really like these. They are interesting but still showcase the clothes.

  • sashaychante

    “Real people”…apparently they were not chosen from the U.S. population, where the average height/weight of a “real woman” is 5’3″ and 145 lbs.

    • LaylaSV

      People don’t actually disappear into fantasy as they get thinner – nor does reality increase in a direct relationship to your dress size. The word real designates nothing more than non-professional.

      • another_laura

        Word.  Very tired of the phrase “real women” to exclude thin women.  We are all real, sisters, we are all real.

        • alyce1213

          Right.  Since when does not overweight = not real??

          • pookiesmom

            Well, of course everyone is “real” in the literal sense of the word. Even (gasp!) models. But the phrase “real women” has long been used by the fashion industry to suggest a more attainable, or average type of beauty (since fashion execs would rather cut themselves than use the phrase “average women”). I mean, what’s the point of marketing this as a “real person” shoot if not to suggest that maybe these people will look a little more like you (and their beauty more attainable and varied) than the shoots with models?

            Anyway, to focus on the nomenclature is, IMO, skirting the issue, which is that it is absolutely ridiculous to suggest that this photo shoot is showing us a “range of sizes” (umm…from 5’9″ to 5’11”? From 100lbs to 110lbs?).

            It is a striking shoot for a number of reasons, but for Elbaz to claim that he just plucked a variety of women off the street and outfitted this huge range of women in his clothes is just absurd. I could picture every single one of these women as a magazine spread (aside from the one older woman in the first pic). They look no different from models to me. And in that case, what’s the difference between plucking model-like women from off the street, vs. plucking them from a casting room? Range of ages, based on this spread, seems to indicate girls in their early 20s and one older woman. Range of sizes, as this spread would suggest, indicates size zero to four. 

          • Corsetmaker

            I’d guess picked from a character model agency’s books rather than a regular agency’s, that’s all. So, still photogenic but outside the usual narrow fashion model spectrum.

            Considering Lanvin’s RTW doesn’t run above a UK16/US12, and I’d lay money on even those running small, it’s probably unrealistic to expect much of a size range in the ads.

            I wouldn’t be surprised if the ages of the models are more varied than you’d think.

          • pookiesmom

            I wouldn’t have expected any size range in the ads if Elbaz himself didn’t claim that the ads represent a “range of sizes.” I generally don’t expect much (if any) representation of a range of body types in editorials. However, when the artistic director of a huge fashion house capitalizes on the phrase “real women” and “range of sizes” to sell more clothes, I feel no compunction in calling him out on his shit when it isn’t delivered.
            Good point about the ages–I did see in a later comment that one of the models is 82 and another is in her 60s (which, holy crap, I’m a bit disturbed that I CANNOT TELL AT ALL which one is in her 60s but that’s a different story)–so I definitely retract the statement about the range of ages.

          • Corsetmaker

            She’s on the Lanvin site (not here), wearing grey. You can tell she’s older but of course they’re all professionally made-up, lit and touched up which makes a huge difference.

            I think the problem is the whole ‘real women’ term has been bandied about the internet and media as solely being about size and curves. We pick up on ‘real women’ and expect to see a curvy chick (which is very wrong anyway). But his actual statement says he wanted to get the clothes on real women and men of different ages and sizes and back on the street. That’s a perfectly factual comment, these are real, regular off the street people – as in not perfect, fantastically genetically gifted models – of widely varying ages. No, they aren’t a wide range of sizes but Lanvin clothes don’t come in a wide range of sizes so no real surprise there. And yes they are fairly attractive – but it’s an ad campaign, they were never going to pick a bunch of total munters to promote the clothes! I’d like to see someone wearing the top end of their size range, although that would still be far from large so I agree they should’ve had sizes covering their own range better. But I just think the size part has been pounced on in his statement, but don’t get the impression that was ever intended to be a central part of the concept. 

          • pookiesmom

            Oh, thank god. I was intensely disturbed that my age-meter was broken beyond repair. 

            Anyway, I’m growing tired of this debate (bashing Lea Michele is so much more fun!) but I’ll just say: models walk the streets, too. It’s not like they’re a different breed of species. They don’t have an extra “model” chromosome that forces them to stay inside, away from sunlight and the prying eyes of the general public. Sure, they’re more genetically gifted than the average human, and tend to put more time and money into their appearance than the average human, but they are still real people. Therefore, it doesn’t mean anything intrinsically different to me, a casual consumer, that they scouted these women off the street rather than in a casting call. I see model-like women on the streets of NYC everyday. It all boils down to this: if I hadn’t been prepped by Elbaz to believe that these women were not models, I could have seen this spread in any magazine and assumed that (aside from the 82 year-old) these women are models. Now, maybe my “model-dar” is broken, but that’s my perspective. I honestly can’t tell a difference between the young women here and models. 

            It’s not so much that I expect to see curves when the phrase “real women” is used (though I DO expect curves, as I have said numerous times, when the phrase “people of different sizes” is used), but that Elbaz is using (and capitalizing on) a dichotomy that, as you have pointed out, doesn’t really exist. If this had been a part of a full magazine spread with interviews of each “model,” then I would have less of an issue because their “non-model” status would be on display in a more meaningful way. But as an ad campaign with little context, it confuses me when the artistic director preps me for a slew of non-models and I see the pictures and everyone looks like a professional model to me. In any case, the campaign seems to be getting Lanvin a lot of press, so kudos to them.

            Anyway anyway anyway. That Lea Michele! Titsandassallthetime, amirite?

    • Agreed.  I like this campaign, but with the exception of no diversity in size.

    • alyce1213

      Not all real people are overweight.

  • Artesian_Belle

    I guess that here “different sizes” only refers to vertical measurements, not horizontal ones. Still, these are striking images.

  • SewingSiren

    The second one reminds me of his and Sprouse’s old muse Teri Toye.

  • MilaXX

    I like! BTW girlfriend is working that blue print dress.

    • minnye

      Looking fab from the top of that hair to her platforms.

  • Judy_S

    They all look to me like late 19th c. portraits of the kind of people who could afford to get their portraits painted by the best artists.

  • Little_Olive

    See, Michael Kors?

  • Lattis

    LOOK at that cutie-pie DOG!!!! (2nd to last photo) 

  • LesYeuxHiboux

    Did they get to keep the clothes? The photos are divine, I love the variation in the men, but the women look like they easily could have been models in another life.

  • Rebecca Johnson

    OMG the bearded man! I want to take him out for drinks and talk about his life and hair.

  • snarkykitten

    so why do we get interesting looking men, but cardboard cut out women? Bored.

    • alyce1213

      I think the women are hardly cardboard cutouts.

  • Snailstsichr

    I am in love with the teal dress – even though taking up the hem enough for me to wear it would totally destroy the look.

    I must now go to a poetry reading with the gentleman in the 5th picture.

  • PinkLemon

    love the collection, love the editorial. gives that quirky Cindy Sherman feeling.

  • YourBaloneyDontGotNoSecondName

    that is one righteous beard.  respect.

  • SpcilK

    This is major! I love the realness, the collection is luxe and beautifully taylored.

  • Giustina Pileggi

    I always love the FURNITURE in Lanvin campaigns. so french. <3

  • Alber’s in a creative fugue these days! You go, guy!

  • Trang Nguyen

    The men are much more fascinating than the women. The girl in the sixth picture is absolutely GORGEOUS, however.

  • Beardslee

    the guy with the blond hair and beard looks like Diggory’s uncle in “The Magician’s Nephew.”

  • kingderella

    i dont love the use of term ‘real people’, but i do like the campaign.

  • alyce1213

    I’m happy to say I know the first woman — Jackie Murdock. We lived in the same apartment building in Greenwich Village for over 20 years.  She’s tall and slim with elegant carriage — she was a dancer for many years at the Apollo Theater.  She’s had some health challenges (vision, etc.), but it never stopped her. She’s 82 now and as striking as ever.  I just ran into her last week, but I didn’t know about this at the time.  How great for her.  She’s a lovely person.

  • quiltrx

    I like this.  Fascinating-looking people AND clothes, and even the settings.

  • guest2visits

    I Heart Huckabees ?…. The Royal Tenenbaums ?… just a family of very fashion conscious eccentrics.

  • MightyMarshal

    It looks like the cast of a new, very upscale Wes Anderson movie. Lurve.

  • pookiesmom

    It depresses me that this is the fashion world’s perception of “real women” of “different sizes.” 

    • meowing

      And different ages.  I guess men of different ages are okay, but older women need not apply.

      • Corsetmaker

        One woman of 82 and one of 62. I think they covered older women pretty well.

        • meowing

          Major mea culpa.

        • pookiesmom

          One is 62?! Holy aging well/photoshop, Batman!

          • Corsetmaker

            She’s not in this group. There are a few more pics on the Lanvin site. The 62 year old woman and another woman who might be in her 30s.

    • tereliz

      As the artistic director of Lanvin, Elbaz can only do so much with the clothes the company provides. I’d like to give the creative team the benefit of the doubt. The shots they did of folks who could fit into the product are really evocative and lovely. If Lanvin made clothes that fuller figures could wear, well, we’d be seeing Christina Hendricks wearing Lanvin dresses. While I’m not disagreeing with you or defending a multi-national, multi-billion dollar industry, I merely wanted to point out the limitations placed on the artists and other creatives whose jobs are to sell these clothes. 

      • pookiesmom

        I get what you’re saying. I actually have less of an issue with the choice of models than I do with the marketing of said choice. If they’d said “we’re using non-traditional models in a range of ages to create the feel of a crazy family” or something like that, I would’ve taken no issue. It’s mainly the phrasing of “real people” and “range of sizes” that bugs me.

  • understateddiva

    Like the ad campaign, hate the peplums!

  • Linderella

    The clothes in the 2nd picture are so fabulous I was drooling as I scrolled down…and then they had to fuck it all up with those ridiculous shoes.

  • like!

  • Laura Valentine

    The men aren’t really all that more diverse in terms of body shape than the women.  I think Elbaz needs to stfu about “different sizes” because that’s clearly not really what was gone for, here.  Most of these people are larger than professional models, of course, but I was hoping to see more of a range.  

    I do like that most of these people have more interesting faces than most professional models.  (There is nothing wrong with anyone’s face! Just that because models are selected for aesthetic considerations, sometimes they look a bit…samey.)

  • TomBord


    beautiful clothing. love the return of the tail. 

  • BayTampaBay

    Love all the clothes except the last dress.

  • Anathema_Device

    Love the clothes. I never would have known these were not professional models b/c they are all beautiful or interesting looking. Not a ding on anyone. It is just that if someone is going to be selected for a fashion campaign, they have to look good in photos. “Real” people or not.

  • la_lala

    I’m a lady, but I desperately want the entire outfit of the dude with the spectacular beard.

  • Nice premise. Great photo’s. Utter bullshit in terms of “real.” 

  • JasonKL

    I don’t think they’re more attractive then “real people” – just styled very well. The girl in the red dress looks like our public relations intern after a couple hours with a hair/makeup team and a pro photographer. 

    They could’ve chosen a wider range of body types, though. I still like the clothes and the concept. 

  • marilyn

    How real is this?  Nobody is fat.  

    • Corsetmaker

      ‘Real’ within the realms of people who can wear clothes in Lanvin’s size ranges without alterations and still make them desirable to their customer base.

  • Marian Humin

    This is fabulous! I can’t say how much I love it. I love seeing “mature” people in ads. Look at how elegant they look!

  • sagecreek

    I love this, especially after the tawny absurdity that was Michael Kors’ fall spread.

  • The pictures are lovely but I’m so sick of the implication that models aren’t people.

  • EEKstl

    I can’t take my eyes of the first woman in the gorgeous teal dress.  And love Blond Beard in the mid-blue tailored coat.

  • Call me shallow, but if I’m looking at fashion editorials I want beautiful and/or interesting looking people who show off the clothes to their best advantage.  Sometimes those people are heavier than a size 4.  But the suggestion that b/c there are no actual “fat” people this isn’t a valid exercise is just ridiculous. They’re selling clothes, not dinner companions. Designer duds look best on a certain body type–the type for which they were designed, fair or not.There’s no fair in fashion.

    Sure, he probably shouldn’t have pretended this was some noble experiment.  Just ‘fess up and say “We thought this might look cool!”  And they were right, it does.

  • minnye

    I love peplums and flared jackets. These are beautiful with the pencil skirts- love that wool, or whatever the fabric is. 

  • The Lady in the first photo wearing emerald green peplum dress is 82 years old.  she was a professional dancer,  people like her do make the photos fascinating. as they are fancinating people.

  • aristida_girl

    Love love love Elber!

  • Corsetmaker

    Reading the comments I think people expect an awful lot from what is still an ad campaign for a fashion house. We’re seeing ‘real’ through the eyes of people who have a rather skewed idea of what it might mean.

    I would’ve been nice to see a model at the top end of their size range, but even that would not be large and what would be the point of specially making a larger size that would never be available in their RTW – would that not be misleading (whether they should go above a US12/UK16/FR44/IT48 is a whole other argument). 

    I do think they’ve made a good job of choosing individuals that are very international. A bit surprised there’s no Chinese model there though given how the markets are going.

  • afabulous50

    Real?  Bull.  They’re all “model skinny.”  That’s not real…

  • I LOVE IT!

  • kimmeister

    The red dress with the handprints reminds me of Eve’s paw tattoos on her chest.

  • BigWhiteGrannyPanties

    I don’t see my Real Big White Granny Panties anywhere in that ad.  HA!

  • librarygrrl64

    Meh. Other than the bearded guy, they all look like models.

  • Puckndc

    First pic is fierce!……Cruella Deville meets Mrs. Danvers, Lanvin style….2 snaps!…someone please create better mens clothing please…