Fashion Backward

Our new weekly feature Fashion Backward will journey back in time to revisit the fashion forward work of some of the best in the industry. Provocative, poignant and totally out of the box, we'll look at the work that continues to inspire the fashion industry of today to push the limit. When it comes to fashion ad campaigns, it seems that there is only Marc Jacobs and then everyone else. The designer absolutely stands alone; he has created his own distinct look and raised a middle finger to the notion that fashion is something to be taken seriously. MJ always knows what women want. His runway shows are jam packed with real world items and often styled in ways that flatter humans, not just models. So when he tells us fashion can be fun, we believe him. [caption id="attachment_5039" align="aligncenter" width="929" caption="Jamie Bochert for Marc Jacobs"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_5038" align="aligncenter" width="1001" caption="Chloe Sevigny for Marc Jacobs"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_5040" align="aligncenter" width="1170" caption="Marc Jacobs for Marc Jacobs"][/caption] And so does the rest of the fashion world. In Jacobs' infamous Spring/Summer 2008 advertising campaign shot by Juergen Teller he was able to get notoriously stone faced Victoria Beckham to act silly. I bet she even smiled once or twice during the shoot. The ad features Beckham inside Marc Jacobs packaging - a giant shopping bag, a shoebox, etc. She commented to WWD, “The images are humorous and ironic,” Beckham said. “You can’t be afraid to experiment with fashion, especially when working with Marc and Juergen, you have to push the envelope and show a different side." While the ads certainly showcase MJ's individuality and innovative spirit as a designer, you also have to give Beckham credit: what she did took courage. For someone who has so meticulously created a high fashion, no nonsense image she really took a leap of faith and trusted that Jacobs would find a way to make this ad fabulous, no matter how simultaneously ridiculous it may be. That is his gift. He takes the bizarre, the obtuse, even the ugly and he makes it high fashion. He breaks the convention of relying on a pretty face and a perfect body to sell his product. It goes to show that when you have such strong design it is a waste to remain in the shackles of commonality. Victoria Beckham told WWD about the advice Jacobs gave her at the beginning of her career, “When I was starting out I remember Marc Jacobs saying, ‘As long as the quality is great, then people can say it’s not their personal taste, but they can’t say that it’s rubbish,’ and that’s very true.” [caption id="attachment_5041" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="Helena Bonham Carter for Marc Jacobs"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_5042" align="aligncenter" width="800" caption="Marc Jacobs AW10"][/caption] Jacobs' collections continue to answer the sartorial desires of women - even when the desire is unknown - and the representation of his brand continues to prove that there is more than one way to sell clothes. And beyond that, he reminds us above all else that fashion should never be boring. It is the ultimate personal expression - and there is so much more to people than made up faces and toned abs.