Claudia De Salvo
With almost every couturier now having at least one celebrity face to their name, a pattern which determines what makes certain celebrities the optimum match for a brand has begun to emerge. The nature of the high fashion industry requires a personality which is consistent, so as not to disrupt the desired associations being passed on to the viewer. When coupled with the right campaign, clear associations allows for even the most explosive personalities to exist in unison with a brand without out shining the product. Lady Gaga’s appearance in the 2014 spring collection from Versace is clear evidence of branding which acknowledges the delicate balance between star power and the high fashion image.
Lady Gaga for Versace, 2014
As far as celebrities go, Lady Gaga is about as consistent as they come. Though this may be hard to swallow when viewing images of a woman in a dress made of meat, many would agree that the pop icon’s wardrobe choices are reliably avant garde. It is this particular aspect of Lady Gaga’s image which made her an ideal partner for Versace, as the singer not only conjures up notions of cutting edge fashion, but also a sense of uniqueness. Though it is often the case that brands would rather play it safe and select a celebrity who is equally famous, yet more neutral in terms of the type of the image they convey (this can be observed in cases such as Keira Knightly and Natalie Portman for Chanel), Versace attempts to demonstrate that this approach is not necessary. By stripping Lady Gaga of her outlandish image for the purpose of the campaign, it is ensured that her look does not disrupt the image of the product. At the same time, the viewer is till invited to associate the brand with alternative ideas that are connected with Gaga and that are perpetuated throughout other appearances she makes throughout different media platforms such as magazines, social media, red carpet appearances and of course her video clips (i). A few months after the campaign was launched, many could argue that, however, that this particular method had backfired. Raw images from the photo shoot were leaked and instantly went viral, sparking more interest than the campaign itself (ii). Had it not been for the hyper theatrical image of Gaga that we are all so used to, perhaps viewers would not have been so intrigued by the pre photo-shopped images. Counter to this, it should be noted that these advertisements remained in the lime light for far longer than most other celebrity endorsements which quickly fade into the background.
Lady Gaga at the Grammy Awards, 2010
(i) McCracken, G 1989, ‘Who is the celebrity endorser? Cultural Foundations of the Endorsement Process, Journal of Consume Research, The University of Chicago, vol.16, no. 3, pp. 310-321, accessed 21st of September 2014.
(ii) Bergin, O 2014, Unretouched images of Lady Gaga’s Versacecampaign leaked online, The Sydney Morning Herald, viewed 19th September 2014, http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/beauty/unretouched-images-of-lady-gagas-versace-campaign-leaked-online-20140417-36u0n.html#ixzz3Dx4h9BBo