I was reading the New York Times after a particularly long day and I encountered a Versace ad that I wanted to post — 2 vacant-eyed women, apparently starving. Lacking even the strength to hold their mouths closed.

Alas, the ad is not to be found online, and I’m afraid if I try to scan it it won’t show up well, as it is in black and white.

(October 10: found it!):

I did find myself on a trip through the strangely-thematic surreal. Let me share some of the landmarks along the way.

Firstly, we have women disguising the fact that they are naked by hiding behind their voluminous handbags:

I think her handbag may weigh more than she does; she also looks as if she may be inside the handbag; then again, I may be wrong.

There also seems to be a theme where we are apparently supposed to be noticing the woman’s shoe as she is stepping into her clothing. This photo spread kills the proverbial two birds, by having her hide one of her (naked) legs behind her purse while stepping into her dress with the other leg. And look! she’s managed to accomplish her task, and is now fully clothed in the picture on the right. Good for her.

Now I don’t know about how models do it, but I tend to put my shoes on last, and have not usually picked up my purse until after the belt is on. Maybe it’s just me.

Then we have the group shots.

I’m not even going to presume what the women on the left are doing, but the one in the middle looks like she’s trying to work in her workout during the shoot, (poor lunging form, btw), Stephanie has longer legs than I am tall, and Claudia really needs to pee. Maybe we could take 5?

Now how about the men.

My son plays a game with pictures of his band on facebook called “what is ____ looking at?” Maybe there’s a giant spider on the floor or something. But do any of us know any men who would do this willingly? I guess they’re pretty well paid, but does that make them “prostitutes”? I can’t really figure out what market Versace is trying to reach with this one, but I guess that’s their marketing department’s problem.

Nothing wrong with this one; at least not as far as I can tell, although I’m not sure what we’re supposed to make of the hands in underwear/handcuffs. Hmmm. . .

Quite fine.

So what are we supposed to make of this?

This just makes me want to cry.

Men get to be strong, muscular, virile; women are wisps, hiding behind our handbags, not allowed to go to the bathroom.


3 Responses to “Versace”

  1. 1 greensilencio
    November 12, 2010 at 11:05 pm

    these girls have anorexia for sure.

  2. December 4, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    Advertisements have crossed over into crazy-land. The 5 models shot is of 5 very famous models. I recognize 4 of them. It’s the type of group shot that’s not as much for fashion as it is for “look at all the famous models”, much like the shot of the famous young female movie stars that was on GQ or a similar magazine earlier this year (could have been Vanity Fair) — that forgot to include even one female movie star of color. They were all white, which caused quite a stir.

    Claudia Schiffer is the one on the R. who “needs to pee”. On the far left is Christy Turlington. I’m pretty sure Cindy Crawford is the one in the middle doing the lunge. And next to her (on the R.) is a huge Victoria’s Secret model, Stephanie Seymour.

    It seems to be a series of ads, by the way:


    Forget the poses — they are all contorted these days. Why I don’t know, but that’s been the trend for a while. As are facial expressions. The meaner and more confrontational, the better. I watch some of the Top Model shows from time to time and they are fascinating. The girls are exhorted to make distorted expressions and poses but at the same time stay pretty. I really don’t know how they do it. Some have the knack and some don’t. It’s quite counter-intuitive.

    As to the men, the explanation is simple. Homo-erotica. That’s very fashioniable these days. The two guys in the middle (on the R.) are practically touching cocks. There is no other way to explain it other than homo-erotica.

    For the female models, of course they are extra-extra thin. I think there was an outcry during one season a few years back over how thin models had gotten, during the “heroin chic” phase of fashion photos, and one or two girls were dismissed in Italy, as I recall, due to being too thin, but then the issue went away. Why? Because models are never going to represent real women. Even the token few large size models who are let in from time to time (into regular shows) to show that designers design for real women are just there as a diversion.

    Plus size models can’t even be over size 14. I was a size 14 in high school and I was considered thin! I was 135 lbs. and am 5’9″. Plus size dressing didn’t used to start until size 16! Now you’re considered plus size if you’re in a size 12. The media idea of what is attractive in women is hugely distorted, and these are the images girls and women grow up with, impossibly thin young women who most of us resemble for a fleeting few years during puberty, then we add womanly weight and reach our mature figures. But the pressure is of course to look that way forever and if you don’t, well you’re not thin enough and not considered attractive by industry standards.

    Besides, many of those photos are routinely airbrushed. Even the models and actresses aren’t as perfect as they appear in photos. Lots of lumpy thighs and thick necks and whatnot are airbrushed away so that all you see is an idealized version of a woman who, even though she is very thin, still can’t meet the standard of perfection that fashion and movies impose.

    Look at actresses 20-30 years ago. Just any old regular film. Those ladies are a good 20 pounds heavier, all of them, than now. Look at pics of Lara Flynn Boyle when she started out. She was curvy! She had a dynamite figure. She probably weighs 30 lbs. less now, is stick thin, her head looks 3 times bigger than it should in relation to her body, and she is just one example. The pressure on women in the public eye to diet down to an extremely thin frame is enormous. Yes, a few women are naturally very thin, but most aren’t.

    What’s the solution? I don’t know. If you are raising girls, I strongly suggest you remind them that the pictures they see in magazines and the actresses they watch are not representations of how real women look. Point out to them the lovely women walking by on the street and whisper that these are normal women, and it’s okay to look normal. Really focus on achievement and goodness, doing your best in life. Remind them at every moment to remember it’s okay to be female, to be smart, to try to do good things from your heart, and it’s fine to look like a real woman. And pray that your girls “get it” and aren’t too damaged by the ridiculous images all around them that tell them otherwise.

  3. January 15, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    Whoops, put the comment in the wrong post – so again: Men may get to be strong, muscular and virile, but they have their hands down their underwear!

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