News & Runway

Forum Buzz: Abbey Lee Kershaw Looks Like a Zombie; YSL Markets Cigarettes

Vogue Japan’s July 2011 Cover Gets Panned

Vogue Japan July 2011 Issue - Abbey Lee Kershaw

Dressed up in a Christian Dior gown, Abbey Lee Kershaw graces the cover of the July 2011 issue of Vogue Japan. Between the model and the dress, the cover could have been a good one, but the end result fails to shine. 

“Looks a bit zombie-like,” candlebougie remarked. Kanna agreed, saying “Abbey looks seriously ill and the color scheme actually is a failure. Who on earth would want to buy a magazine with a cover like that?”

Northern Star summed up the general sentiments of nearly everyone in the thread. The cover was pretty much a universal disaster. “I'm afraid that cover is very scary,” he wrote. “I don't think I've ever seen such a dead, soulless look on a major magazine. The hair and makeup do not help matters either. The color of the dress and the vile colors of the masthead and text all work against it also. A major fail and a major mess, and certainly not Abbey Lee's finest hour.”



YSL Makes Fashionable Cigarettes 

This type of advertising may be banned in the United States and in Europe, but Yves Saint Laurent is promoting their “sophisticated” brand name cigarettes to women in Asia and Russia. Apparently, YSL cigarettes were first launched in 1989, and promotional script tells prospective buyers about the intent of the product: “Creating a sense of appeal to female vanity and thereby making the woman who chose to smoke Yves Saint Laurent cigarettes more attractive than one who smokes another brand or more attractive than a woman who did not smoke at all.” This sounds kind of like the gimmicks used to sell a tube of lipstick, except YSL lipstick won’t kill you.

YSL cigarette packageYSL cigarette ad

“YSL smokers only get the sophisticated types of lung cancer,” quipped bothsidesnow.

Tigerrouge cited a possible reason for the reemergence of YSL cigarettes at this time. She wrote: “Numerous design houses licensed their names to such things in Europe decades ago, so YSL cigarettes have always been around, but given that luxury brand awareness is on the increase in China, commercially speaking, it must be the perfect moment to intertwine that with the already-established trend for smoking.”

Mikeijames doesn’t get the point of the outcry against the so-called fashionable cigarettes. “Everyone gets up in arms about a pack of branded cigarettes when almost every major design house – from the gorgeous ashtrays at Hermes, to the obscenely opulent lighters at Cartier, to the fantastical match stands at Ralph Lauren, to the golden cigar holders from Tom Ford – promotes smoking in their own way.”

Spike413 disagreed with that argument. “Here's the main difference, at least for me,” he wrote. “The items you mentioned can be considered beautiful from an aesthetic standpoint and would be used as decor as well as for the purpose they were designed to serve. And because any of those items could be considered beautiful as an object they don't automatically do anything to cheapen the name of the brand selling them. These cigarettes are just a cheap, tacky – not to mention disgusting – way of making a buck.”

We don’t need to have YSL cigarettes dangling from our lips to prove our level of sophistication. This is one product YSL should have left back in 1989.


Balmain Diffusion Line in the Works

In other licensing news, Balmain is one of the latest brands to license its name for a new lower-priced ready-to-wear diffusion line, to be called Pierre Balmain. Women’s Wear Daily reported that the line will be for men and women and will be “under the purview of a separate design studio, overseen by the Paris-based house.” Fashion Spot forum members for the most part were not especially thrilled with the news. 

Several posters took issue with the diffusion line bearing the full name of the main line’s founder. Mikejames wrote, “It is a scandal and a half that the bridge line will bear the full name of the house's founder. At least most major houses have the decency to give some sort of cute ‘nickname’ to their secondary line to maintain the prestige and exclusivity of the main line. “Marc,’ ‘Miu Miu,’ ‘Michael,’ ‘See by Chloé’… and so many others. I cannot think of one precedent for a bridge line getting a more prominent name than the ready-to-wear line.”

Others argued that the diffusion line would detract from the prestige of the premiere brand. Sounds like the argument that Dolce & Gabbana used to shutter D&G (despite its commercial success), no? Crying Diamonds posted, “I think the one thing that Balmain has going for it is the controversial contemporary craftsmanship that goes into the products that demand the high prices – trying to do a similar thing in a cheaper way will surely only be emphasizing the fact that it can be done in a cheaper way and has already been done?”

There was also the fear that more accessibility would make the Balmain aesthetic overly trendy. But, isn’t Balmain overly trendy anyway? It’s already being knocked off by mass market fast fashion retailers and diffusion lines have proven to be successful for other brands, so doesn’t it make sense that they would want to capitalize on the look that they’re known for?

Helterskelter thinks the diffusion line “will absolutely make the brand become overly trendy. Don't get me wrong,” she wrote, “I'd love to be able to own a Balmain piece, but not at the expense of Balmain's exclusivity declining.”

If Pierre Balmain is an unsuccessful venture, it will probably fold quietly, but brands like Michael Kors, Prada, Marc Jacobs, Chloé, and more have proven that secondary lines can enhance the main line while also helping to fill the brand’s coffers and reach a wider commercial market. An official launch of the line is expected in September, so we’ll hold onto our judgments until then.


Images courtesy of the Fashion Spot forums.