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Proenza Schouler’s Spring 2013 Ad Can’t Decide What It’s All About

Image via WWD

For Proenza Schouler's national magazine ad debut, Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough brought in photographer David Sims to photograph models Irina Nikolaeva and Julia Nobis in the brand's Spring 2013 collection.

This campaign is very likely a crucial piece of some larger overall business strategy: set to run in Vogue, Harper's Bazaar and W (advertising in big-name glossies is a first for the New York label), the ads feature an updated (and rather unfortunate-looking) logo. Also, the initial image (above) was teased to WWD, signaling an unambiguous play for press. 

It seems like there's a lot riding on this campaign, but if the other images follow the one above, I don't think it can bear the weight. Any weight. Good thing scrutiny is weightless, or it couldn't even bear that. 

Let's list all the elements that make up this lumpy soup of an ad:

  • The modernist blob of a collage on the left
  • The decontextualized graffiti on the walls in the main image
  • The very traditional waterscape seen through the window
  • Model Irina Nikolaeva's robotic pose (is that a pocket or is she rubbing her lower belly?) and faded, wilting expression
  • The scaley-stiff red leather skirt suit with black geometric embellishment which, who would ever wear that?
  • Everything about the font, from the font itself to the spacing.

This is like a scene out of a very sad novel that ends with the main character huddled in a corner of her hovel, feeding bread crumbs to her pet rat. But on another planet, after the end of the Earth.