Post by CM
The Serpentine Gallery Summer Party looked like a glorious affair last Tuesday, with stars from the entertainment and media worlds (and ‘Lady’ Victoria Hervey) turning out to toast the unveiling of the new Pavillion designed by architect Smiljan Radic at the eponymous gallery. It was a jolly, summery affair and the guests dressed to impress.
Among the attendees was Keira Knightly, who in an interview with last weekend’s Sunday Time’s Culture labelled herself a hypocrite for pining for more serious roles for women in Hollywood and to merit them on their talent and intelligence, not only their looks, whilst also enjoying the ad campaigns she’s involved with, and dressing up for the red carpet. But why is it considered so shameful to delight in donning genius creations and swanning around in them, feeling fabulous? It’s obviously not the most important thing to aspire to – like Keira says, brains should rate higher than booty – but surely it shouldn’t be frowned upon to want to express yourself through your sartorial choices?
But then again, surprisingly it may be easier to do so for you or me, without the help of a stylist – or a contract. You may remember the faux pas Anne Hathaway committed at the Academy Awards in 2013? She switched from a Valentino to a Prada gown at the last minute, reportedly because she got wind of Amanda Seyfried’s choice and it was too similar to hers, and in the process provoked the ire of Valentino himself, who had announced earlier that day that she would be wearing one of his designs. When there’s an ‘understanding’ it’s simply not done to renege on your arrangement.
Which is why at the Serpentine Party you will have seen Keira, Cara, Suki and more wearing the designers they represent. Cara Delevigne’s campaign for Mulberry A/W14 was unveiled this week to much fanfare (the rustic highland setting and preppy, back-to-school look setting hearts longing for September and cooler climes), and thus she was pictured in the same designer at the party.
Keira Knightly was ravishing in Chanel, as the Face of Coco Mademoiselle, and Suki Waterhouse wore Burberry, the label with which she’s most associated with, appearing alongside Cara in its Fall campaign.
It’s alright when you’re a model by trade, being paid to fit into the mould of the fashion house’s look, but as an actress could it seem a little like cashing in?
I for one think not. Both Jennifer Lawrence and Marion Cottilard are stars in different Dior campaigns, and are expected to wear the label on each and every red carpet event, save for one or two special circumstances. But see how different their campaigns are, and their looks? The actors are asked to become involved because they represent a particular aspect of the label; both women suit the Dior aesthetic but interpret and embody it in different ways.
Similarly with Balenciaga; when Nicolas Ghesquiére was at the helm he cast Kristen Stewart as his Face (and she duly represented the brand at photo calls); now that Alexander Wang has taken the reigns Giselle takes centre stage as the new Balenciaga girl.
Winona Ryder has just been announced as the new face of Rag & Bone, looking typically beautiful. Though she has long since ditched her famous pixie crop in favour of flowing locks, in the campaign she’s seen wearing a wig not unlike the hairstyle she spotted back in her 90s heyday. Because it’s the actor’s known, public brand that draws the designer to them; Keira’s Audrey Hepburnesque poise, Marion’s Gallic charm, Kristen’s edgy femininity, Winona’s gamine fragility.
And then there’s Vicky B for Vogue UK August 2014. First a pop star, then simply the wife of a footballer, now a fashion maven, style icon and respected designer, Victoria is gracing the cover of the most famous magazine in all the land. In a garden in a big floppy hat and Wellington boots is not necessarily where you’d expect to find Posh, but somehow it works. Don’t you kinda wish you were wearing those wellies too? They’re not even Hunter!
Perhaps it’s her chameleonic quality that has landed her here. Like an actress (which she is certainly not – remember that Ugly Betty cameo?) she can successfully inhabit a role, be it singer, WAG, diva, and set aspirations in motion. They say if you want something done, do it yourself, which is what Beckham has done. All a brand wants from a model/actress/whatever is to wear the clothes well, and when a designer can do that her or himself, all the better.