So the fashion world imploded this week with the release of Celine’s Spring campaign featuring Joan Didion, all old and legendary and stuff with the National Post declaring it ‘so cool it circles back to lame’, and Vogue boldly confessing ‘we’ll be buying whatever Joan’s wearing.’ I mean sure, Joan’s own paired back, minimal style (both sartorial and professional) suits the Celine aesthetic down to the ground, and profligates the Great Celine Myth of being so ultra-trendy you can’t really wear it unless you’re a curator of a modern art gallery. However, how can it be that campaigns, once the territory of the prettiest girls in school, now belong to the IT-girls of yesteryear?
Then came Joni Mitchell for Saint Laurent – get Stevie Nicks in for Joseph and the holy trinity of old hipster icons would be complete. But what is the intangible appeal of these women, individuals whose prominence belongs to decades past and now only lives on in icon status? It feels as though each season we rehash the styles and shapes of the 1960s, or 70s, or 80s and now even the 90s. It’s difficult to grasp what our current time’s signature style is, and the idea that we need to resurrect the heroes of the last century to advertise it is exciting (Joan’s campaign shot went viral almost immediately) but vaguely disappointing at the same time.
We have Kate, Cara, Alexa, who certainly qualify by column inches. But without the rock and roll lifestyle, the muses and the great rebels of decades past, it’s hard to think of someone that will remain in public consciousness with enough admiration to front a campaign in their eighties, and storm it not based on looks or beauty but on sheer cool. And I guess that is worth imitating.