Fashion and music have always gone hand-in-hand, and that relationship has served up some truly memorable collaborations in terms of advertising in recent years. We took a look through the books to come up with 10 of the best.
In an ever-more crowded marketplace, it’s understandable that fashion brands are increasingly looking to celebrities – namely musicians – to head up their seasonal campaign imagery. After all, their fame and persona are able to communicate something far deeper than a nameless pretty face.
Sometimes it works to brilliant effect. Hedi Slimane’s rock star-inspired offerings at Saint Laurent have been complemented by a slew of undeniably stylish shoots with the likes of Marilyn Manson, Courtney Love, Ariel Pink and – most recently – Josh Homme. Yet finding an artist that fits your label can often be a difficult task – it requires a shared semblance of style and attitude without seeming too obvious. With that in mind, we decided to count down 10 of the best musical cameos in fashion campaigns.
A$AP Rocky for DKNY
While on the surface A$AP Rocky probably isn't the first person you’d associate with DKNY, the Harlem-born rapper has never been shy about repping his city and this was a great way to show that. While his self-proclaimed love of fashion has tended to focus on more high-end brands, it was only a matter of time before someone came calling to tap into Rocky’s reputation as an urban trendsetter. Alongside Cara Delevingne, the A$AP frontman encapsulated the spirit of streetwise youth that the brand was no-doubt seeking to portray.
Frank Ocean for Band of Outsiders
The washed-out analogue aesthetic of soon-to-be defunct Band of Outsiders has been a regular feature of the brand’s marketing campaigns. The label’s Spring/Summer 2013 lookbook saw them enlist Frank Ocean at the height of his Channel Orange fame, following his performance at the Grammys wearing a bright yellow tuxedo by the Californian brand. Something about the R&B crooner’s humble effortlessness was the perfect fit for a brand that has always eschewed sartorial stiffness.
Zomby for Cav. Empt
When British-born music producer Zomby appeared in Cav Empt’s Spring/Summer 2013 lookbook, it made total sense. The Japanese brand’s look draws heavily from British youth culture in terms of fit, silhouette and attitude, while toying with concepts of modernity, retro fetishization and anonymity – all traits also attributed to the mask-wearing beatmaker. At least, we're assuming it was him underneath that faceplate.
Kanye West for Balmain
Kanye West’s continued efforts to ingratiate himself with the world of fashion saw him (and, bizarrely, wife Kim) heading up Balmain’s latest spring/summer menswear campaign. According to the Parisian label’s creative director, Olivier Roustieng, the couple “represent a family for the new world.” Whether you agree that's what Balmain stands for is another matter, but it certainly felt representative of a shift in where fashion’s influence lies.
Mykki Blanco for Iceberg
Italian fashion house Iceberg paid homage to downtown New York with their Spring/Summer 2015 imagery, managing to include no less than 12 of the region's notable inhabitants, among them former rapper/LGBT activist Mykki Blanco. While the likes of Kim Gordon also made the list, Blanco's inclusion was indicative of the city’s diverse vibrancy and creativity – something which Iceberg took as strong inspiration from for their collection.
Lady Gaga for Versace
Lady Gaga’s appearance as the face of Versace for Fall/Winter 2013 was perhaps unsurprising, given that neither party is known for their sense of subtlety or self-restraint. What was surprising, however, was just how much the pop star looked like the brand’s iconic matriarch, Donatella. With her poker-straight, platinum blonde hair, Gaga channelled the fashion icon perfectly, and each frame was like a glimpse both back and forward in time.
Nicki Minaj for Roberto Cavalli
Roberto Cavalli’s signature exuberance is not for everyone, but there are few stars more suited to the label’s particular brand of vibrancy than rapper-cum-singer Nicki Minaj. The Trinidadian-born pop queen has made a career off the back of her empowering sexuality and larger-than-life persona, yet the transformation into elegant and refined ’70s glamorpuss was every bit as inspired as it was unexpected. Who would've thought "Anaconda" could receive such a classy makeover?
Green Day for John Varvatos
John Varvatos has roped a number of musicians into his advertising campaigns over the years – among them Iggy Pop, The Roots, Velvet Revolver and Alice Cooper – but the pop-punk persona of Green Day felt like an apt face for the increasingly sanitized and unthreatening image of both rock & roll, and New York itself. As depressing as that is.
Rihanna for Dior
Rihanna’s recent appearance as the face of Dior was extra significant, as she became the brand’s first black representative – part of a wider move towards modernizing the French house now that it’s under the watchful eye of Raf Simons. In many ways Rihanna was symbolic of this modernization process. The campaign itself seemed to tie the old with the new, depicting the pop mega-star as a regal figure wandering the Palace of Versailles.
Written by Calum Gordon for Highsnobiety.com