Saint Laurent’s ‘Music Project’ Ad Campaign

Posted on April 03, 2013

Saint Laurent designer Hedi Slimane’s love of rock and roll continues to infuse the brand at the moment. After a much-discussed fall 2013 collection inspired by grunge, he’s turning to familiar faces from the world of rock, like Courtney Love, Kim Gordon, Marilyn Manson and Ariel Pink to pout and pose for his “Music Project” campaign, inspired in part by Yves Saint Laurent dressing Bianca Jagger for her 1971 St. Tropez wedding to Mick.


We don’t know… the only ones that really work for us are the Kim Gordon ones. Now that’s a face.

We can’t get over how lame it is seeing Courtney roll around the floor in a tiara and a fur. Hello, 1994.

[Photo Credit: Hedi Slimane for Saint Laurent]

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  • Seems so gimmicky. How about good design?

    • tereliz

      From Hedi Slimane, apparently that is asking too much.

    • gabbilevy

      It feels like a gimmick that could have worked if something original had been done with it. None of these people are boring-looking. Letdown.

  • tereliz

    Eh. The Fall clothes weren’t THAT bad that St Laurent Paris needs to use such diversionary tactics in their advertising, were they? Now, Spring, that’s a different story…

  • Ozski

    I like the pin-striped look for Courtney. Or maybe it’s because her face is obscured? Kim Gordon has that stunning Marianne Faithful gravitas now and isn’t Marilyn Manson over now? Please?

    • Lisa M. (ReVoir) Kramp

      I thought for a moment she was M. Fathfull. Her pics are wonderful, and I think Ariel Pink looks adorable. I actually like that portrait of Manson. Courtney? I just can’t.

  • Paulina Carey

    Maybe it’s just because Marilyn Manson gives me flashbacks to middle school (hello, angst!), but this all seems so very, very dated.

  • Monkey Toe

    I know! Doesn’t Kim look like the love child of Anita Pallenberg and Marianne Faithfull?

  • Heroin is cool y’all.

  • Deac82

    I’ll add that the photos without Courtney’s Love’s face work pretty well too. Her mug just cheapens the brand.

  • MrsAtaxxia

    16 year old goth me is very excited to see MM. Current 30-something-old me is kind of embarrassed for this whole production, excepting of course Kim Gordon who is beyond reproach. Also Courtney, I love Live Through This as much as anyone, but get a job already.

    • Amelia

      The MM photos look practically respectable next to the Courtney Love ones. And is it just me or does he look a lot less silly here than he does normally, even with the pseudo-skrillex hair.

      • MrsAtaxxia

        Yes on all counts. Also you gotta know its bad when you are next to MARILYN MANSON and you’re the one whose makeup looks jacked – looking at you Ms Love.

  • I’m just gonna pour out Opium and sit shiva in my Le Smoking for YSL.

    • Sobaika

      Seriously. From the name change to Marilyn Manson (errm, wha..?) Slimane is destroying the house from the inside.

      • He’s slandering a dead man’s brand. Where is the Chambre Syndicale?

  • I like Marilyn’s jacket. I’ll bet Buzz Bissinger wants one too.

    • H2olovngrl

      I had one like that in 1988. Wish I had it still. Oh well.

  • Yes on Kim Gordon’s awesome face. The C. Love ones where her face is hidden also work. (I mean that sincerely, not just snarkily, although seemingly everything C. Love touches lends itself to snark.)

    • ankali

      I agree, and I really like her in a sharp suit.

  • deathandthestrawberry

    Kim Gordon was one of my teenage heroes

    The shot of Courtney Love in the pin-striped suit is decent. Too bad they went for the Live Through This shtick with her. Still haven’t seen anything from this designer that I like.

    • lovelyivy

      Yeah- I thought the Live Through This version of Courtney Love stopped being cool a loooong time ago, and died a public death during her custody battles with Francis Bean. I don’t see her and think cool or sexy or anything but fucking sad.

  • H2olovngrl

    Her idea to roll around on the floor or the photographer’s?

    • I don’t think either of them really have a choice at this point.

  • MarissaLG

    I’m kind of surprised that Marilyn Manson isn’t a total Fashion Person these days. It seems like it would be a great place for him & logical progression of his career. Can’t you picture him in the front row?

    Courtney Love looks like a joke. I don’t know who the other two are.

    • MrsAtaxxia

      He was for a hot minute when he was with/married to Dita, but more in a “i’m here to hold my wife’s purse” kind of way than an “I actually care about fashion” kind of way.

      • MarissaLG

        Hmm good point. I didn’t think that maybe it would be weird for them to run in the same circles. I guess she got the fashion world in the divorce.

        • MrsAtaxxia

          I think she got “fashion” in the divorce but Hedi and MM may have ended up collaborating due to the fact that they are both in LA (as opposed to NYC or Paris or Milan – “traditional” fashion cities). Just a thought.

    • Didn’t Marilyn do a campaign with Vivienne Westwood?

  • alyce1213

    Courtney loves looks so much better when you can’t see that it’s her.
    Marilyn Manson – still vomit.
    Kim Gordon looks real cool, a bit samey in all the pictures, but that’s her, steadfastly. She’s about 60, and looks pretty good for having lived life in the fast lane.

  • zenobar

    Kim Gordon is the fucking shit. That is all.

  • It doesn’t make me understand the brand any better, but I do like looking at close-ups of interesting faces, so I can’t say I dislike them. It’s bad advertising, but it makes for some interesting material to stare at.

    I’m choosing to ignore the C.Love ones, though. They’re making me remember eighth grade cliques.

  • conniemd

    But is that really only half a jacket?

  • Sobaika

    Painfully transparent and dated.

  • “inspired in part by Yves Saint Laurent dressing Bianca Jagger for her 1971 St. Tropez wedding to Mick.” And that’s the problem with these. Mick and Bianca were the shit in 1971: these are “oldies but goodies,” to put it kindly, and seem so out of date, don’t they?

    • hac51

      I’m an Old, so I have no idea who a cool young rocker would be nowadays (NOT The Beeb, obviously), but that would be who you would shoot for a campaign that attempts to capture the spirit of Bianca and Mick 1971.

      • Amelia

        I feel like if they had done a more modern version of this, Florence Welch would have been a good choice.

      • Great question. Amelia is right on with Florence Welch in one respect: her look fits well with these clothes. But the spirit of Bianca and Mick today? Yikes! I’m an Old, too, so honestly, no one is coming to mind.

  • I kind of hoped he would have spent more time in the Saint Laurent Archives and less time taking pictures …

  • Marilyn is good also!

  • I’m longing for the “good ole days” when a design house with the magnitude of YSL had amazing designs that were the focus of their ad campaign, not this tired BS!

  • formerlyAnon

    I like the one with C. Love bent over the guitar, and, of course, the Kim Gordon shots. You could have left Manson and Pink out entirely, they’re not doing much for me.

    Based on other photos I’ve seen, they removed too many grooves and lines from Gordon’s face – a face that (whether it’s genes or minor ‘work’ done) looks darn good for 59 without photoshop. These would have been more powerful photos and she’d still have looked great if they’d done a lot less.

  • l_c_ann

    OK, I’m officially not the YSL demographic. Forget that my age group has disposable income. YSL has.

  • Looks more like a photo shoot for an upcoming reality show, “Geriatric Celebrity REHAB”

  • Chartreusite

    I lovelovelovelove Kim Gordon. She seriously has the attitude to do some stunning editorial work, although I think that’s not entirely her cup of tea (all the more props to her for deciding the big celebrity game wasn’t her thing, cause god knows Sonic Youth was big enough at one point that she coulda gone there.) Marilyn Manson’s got a striking face and image and I have no problem with him except that he’s not serving it as well as he probably could. Courtney’s are alright, but honestly I don’t really think they were worth the effort it probably took to get her to do them.

    Ariel Pink’s is annoying. But then again, I never saw the appeal.

    • RebeccaKW

      WTF is up with his pose? Does anyone over the age of 5 think that ‘magic trick’ is cool?

      • Chartreusite

        I’m all for letting a dude let his free(k) flag fly, but man does it feel inappropriate and out-of-tone with the rest of the photos.

        • RebeccaKW

          Yes, I agree. I’m fine with the face, it fits him. But the gesture is…lame. That’s the best move he had to break out?

      • formerlyAnon

        Well, in his defense, they probably shot 200 photos of – I don’t know, a dozen? couple of dozen? – poses and an editor chose this one.

        • RebeccaKW

          True. They are as much to blame for choosing this as he is for doing it. I wonder how bad the other pics of him were that this was their best choice.

          • formerlyAnon

            Yes. “How bad were the other photos?” definitely crossed my mind.

  • Meh. I would be more excited if there was a single garment worthy of commentary.

    • tereliz

      Then they wouldn’t need these names and faces to back up that commentary.

      Maybe Love and Manson’s images reflect the spirit of the Fall collection, but I’m most surprised at how little bearing on the Spring collection everyone but Kim Gordon has, which was more 70s inspired to my eye. It’s sad how obvious it is that the brand is scrambling to provide some context for the Fall ad campaign by prepping us with these faces that are apparently meant to add some “street cred” to the grunge-re-re-redux Hedi “introduced” us to last month.

      I mean, come on, even C. Love gets the irony:

      “I just find it hilarious that in three months time or however long it takes, women are gonna pay six thousand dollars for a fucking trench coat that cost us $4.99 back in the day.”

  • Jecca2244

    i’m upset with their use of Marilyn Manson…anyone that buys purses and other products made from the skin of humans killed during the Holocaust shouldn’t be given this attention.

  • MilaXX

    As mentioned it’s all dated and been there done that.

  • Nope. Not feeling this campaign. The Kim Gordon pics work for me okay I suppose, but the other choices feel forced, like they were picked for (outdated) shock value. Surely there are photogenic and much more relevant rockers who would JUMP at a chance to do this? Not looking good for the future of this house, YSL is disco-twirling in his grave.

  • Qitkat

    I’m way out of my wheelhouse with these artists, so I made a search and found a very interesting interview with the Rodarte sisters and how their fashions have been influenced by music and in particular Kim Gordon. Here’s the link:

    I like the fireplace in the Courtney Love shot. And agree with TLo about Kim Gordon’s face, she makes a wonderful, strong impression; also love the bracelet in her second shot. Not the most effective spotlighting of YSL’s fashions though.

  • SouthernGirlRena

    If any of the BK’s out there is a marketing professional, would you explain why a well known fashion house would go to the expense of an ad campaign and work so hard to hide/distract attention from the clothing?

    • Because the clothing sucks maybe?

    • Ads don’t exist just to sell particular products, but also to sell entire brands–and associating a celebrity to a brand not only raises awareness, but it also gives legitimacy to the brand in the mind of the consumer. Furthermore, it drives an association: when you think of Courtney Love, the consumer might now think of Saint Laurent, even if just subconsciously. Marketing is not necessarily about convincing a consumer that the product is beautiful (or tasty, or effective, or safe, and so forth). Sometimes, it’s about associating memorable images with a name, or giving a brand a certain attitude. Frogs have little to do with how Budweiser tastes, for example, but we still associate that brand with an idea that exists outside of the product’s qualities, and in fact, that association is part of our pop lexicon now. (Just like Toucans have nothing to do with cereal.) Celebrities are just another kind of mascot.

      Here, Saint Laurent gives its brand an association with certain celebrities, emotions, and attitudes. It may or may not work, but there’s intent behind it that goes beyond just “make our clothes look nice so that people will buy them.” People’s spending habits often have surprisingly little to do with the quality of what they buy, and good ad people are experts at psychological manipulation. You’d be surprised at how effective an ad like this can be, even when it seems to barely have anything to do with the product it sells. It’s selling a lifestyle, and a lot of people will probably respond to it.

      God I sound like a corporate ad-agency slave now. I need something refreshing to drink. Maybe a soda that a polar bear told me to buy, in a glass with R2D2 pictured on it.

      Dammit. I’m doing it again.

      • SouthernGirlRena

        Thanks Kevin. All of that makes sense. I guess I am just too practical. In my mind, it seems like you wouldn’t have to chose between showing off the product and selling the brand. Feature the spokesperson/frog/bear looking fantastic/cool/rock and roll/thirsty while using the product. If starlets can walk down the street while holding their purse in a totally unnatural way so show off the label, I would think with a little more effort, a photo shoot could manage to do it and look more “real life”.

  • IMNAngryLiberal

    I keep forgetting .. isn’t the point of an ad campaign supposed to be getting people to want to buy your stuff? And this would do that how?

  • Isana Leshchinskaya

    hold up. who is that right after marilyn manson?

    • formerlyAnon

      Ariel Pink

      • Isana Leshchinskaya


  • Apparently gang-banger Kirsten Dunst is more of a badass than Courtney Love; who knew?

  • Imasewsure

    Sorry but I love all of these – don’t care if Ms Courtney’s are dated. I still love her for some strange reason and i love the rest of these shots too

  • Barb Ray

    What’s going on with Courtney’s left hand in the third still- that’s not a great shot. Kim Gordon looks marvelous throughout though, wow.

  • Keep Kim Gordon, bring David Bowie and Mick Jagger and let them fuck the camera.

    • AmeliaEve

      Yup. Except Bowie and Jagger would be too expensive. I’d love to see Patti Smith in some of this stuff, or Tina Weymouth.

  • It’s like an ancient math teacher’s idea of what would make a cool, eye-catching ad. Rock musicians! With guitars! In stark black and white! Get that girl, what’s her name, I saw her on the cover of a magazine in 1993!

  • Actually, Heidi Slimane’s Frances Bean photos put these all to shame!! That girl is haunting!

    Well, except for fabu Kim Gordon.

  • prettybigkitty

    Courtney Love as a spokesmodel is ridiculous. I would in no way want to wear the clothes she has on. If anything I would want to burn them. She’s awful. And Marilyn Mason. . . .ick.

  • decormaven

    This feels like a rock n roll funeral, not a celebration. I want to be the girl with the most cake, indeed.

  • marilyn

    What in the world are they trying to sell?

    • Cheap licensee tid bits like sunglasses, fragrance, bags n other bs to the ignorant masses!

  • I freaked out about turning 30 last week and seeing an ad campaign that is pretty much lifted from magazines of my youth is not helping with the feeling old panic.
    Seriously though, this doesn’t feel new in any way. The collection was commercial and I would wear the clothes (if I could not only afford it but was so rich that I didn’t care I could buy many pieces similar anywhere else for a fraction of the cost) but to me that would mean the campaign needed to be particularly innovative and fresh – you’ve seen this style before but not like THIS and to highlight the quality.
    Instead the campaign feels like it’s been lifted straight from an old magazine, nothing new to see here folks, and the clothes are barely getting a showing.

    I don’t understand!! (And Hedi Slimane was the biggest inspiration to me in college and the reason I switched to menswear back then so this feeling is unsettling for me)

  • deedeegee

    all the photoshop that’s used these days and they couldn’t have erased the rest of that guy’s thumb for the stupid “thumb trick” he’s doing in his photo? love kim gordon tho.

  • KG puts the pretenders to shame. They should have stopped with her.

  • capybara_cafe

    I just can’t.

  • CatherineRhodes

    Courtney is hardly recognizable since she’s had so much work done to her face. Undoubtedly a generous helping of Photoshop as well.


    Can this house and the has been Slimane get any more cliche and stuck….so so sad

  • guest2visits

    The best Courtney’s looked in awhile. On the floor again, though. And I love the suit and sharp shoes.

  • lrhoff

    This is very sad indeed. Let’s take a moment and reflect on better times for this fashion house.

  • Wait…so that’s NOT David Bowie in drag?

  • ankali

    I enjoy the pic of Courtney rolling around on the floor in fur and a tiara precisely BECAUSE it takes me back to 1994. Ah, junior year.

    TLo’s right, though. The Kim Gordon shots are the best. LOVE the one that references Patti Smith’s album cover for Horses.

  • ankali

    God, what a face! Kurt’s and Courtney’s features blended seamlessly in the most arresting combination possible.

  • Why do we keep forgetting that YSL was, to begin with, a subversive brand?

    • Not quite subversive…just forward and ground breaking…based on “style” not ‘hype”!

  • PrunellaV

    In the tiara shot, Courtney looks like she just turned.

  • Kim Gordon–I love her all the time.

  • Kind of creepy how much Ariel Pink looks like Kurt Cobain here…

  • Kim Gordon should model more things.

  • lalahartma


  • Renaissance_Man_ATL

    Heroin “chic”? Again!?! Except for Kim Gordon, of course.

  • texashistorian

    Marilyn Manson posing for a luxury brand? What a sell out. Sick of all these damn sell outs.

  • ccm800

    BOOOOOO! Sensationalist and dull at the same time.