Monday, March 29, 2010

Sexual Power

by Samantha Shaw

Mario Testino, V 59. The author points to a conflicted hegemony. Different images send different messages especially about women.

“Gender and Hegemony in Fashion Magazines: Women’s Interpretations of Fashion Photographs” by Diana Crane
“Gender and Hegemony in Fashion Magazines: Women’s Interpretations of Fashion Photographs” by Diana Crane was published in Volume 40, number 4 of The Sociological Quarterly in 1999. This article is a companion piece to a study that examined women’s relationships with the images presented in fashion magazines. Crane questions the validity of the assumption that fashion magazines encourage conformation and dissatisfaction among women through analyzing the data and responses of women who participated in the study, while acknowledging the various theories that exist connecting women’s self-worth and the images presented in fashion publications. Crane’s key question pertains to whether or not fashion theorists’ assumptions are accurate in their perception of hegemony in fashion magazines.

Both types of women exist, JCrew 2009 and Terry Richardson 2009

In one image both mother and sex appeal, Testino, V 59

Crane begins the article by addressing the conception that society views Fashion as a form of hegemonic oppression, however, this assumption may not be true. In order to explore this, Crane sets forth the parameters for interpreting the study which includes “Understanding the impact of these images requires consideration of (1) the concept of hegemony as it applies to texts created for women and (2) theories of media reception and their conceptualization of women as readers or interpreters of media materials” (Crane 1). She goes on to elaborate on the concept of hegemony, taping in to feminist theory that supposes that feminine hegemony incorporates male desires. However, various contradictions exist with in the readings of hegemonic femininity. Through these contradictions, Crane presents the concept of conflicted hegemony, which indicates that there is no standard, but rather consumers choose from various interpretations of fashion, which can be ted to social class or ethnic background. These options can be tied to the oppositional forces of modernism and postmodernism, two methods of thought that prevail throughout our culture. In order to complete this exploration, Crane discusses various media theories relating to women’s reception of fashion magazines, but ultimately concludes that there is no consensus to how contemporary women perceive fashion.

In the following section, entitled “Postmodernism, Feminism, and Fashion,” the author acknowledges the various agendas of fashion magazines, that include the portrayal of youth culture, female power and social change, and creation of identities. She uses Vogue to illustrate the evolution of the fashion magazine from purveyor of fashion to purveyor of media material. By the 1980s Vogue had become markedly sexualized displaying partial nudity and emphasizing sexual provocation. This signifies a change in function of fashion photographs.

In the end the study’s results display the validity of the theory of conflicted hegemony. Many women did not rely on fashion magazines as a directional source, but rather used a combination of sources to shape their perception of fashion, including friends and other media sources. Theses sources, when weighed against one another, equate to fashion’s conflicted hegemony. The study on which Crane reflects upon questions our notions of the hierarchy of power in fashion and begs the reader to reconsider his or her own power within the fashion system.

About the author: Diana Crane is a professor of sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. In addition to this article, she gained success with her book Fashion and its Social Agendas: Class, Gender, and Identity in Clothing. She has a particular interest in the intersection between the sociological aspects of the fashion industry and empirical data. Although she is probably best known for her work in the theorization of fashion, she also has published works concerning global media and arts policy.

“Flash Trash: Gianni Versace and the theory and practice of glamour” by
Réka C. V. Buckley and Stephen Gundle.
The work of Gianni Versace can often be called vulgar, tasteless, and over the top. His legacy, although one of considerable success is often overshadowed by allegations of gaudy designs and an anti-feminist, over sexualized aesthetic. Réka C. Buckley and Stephen Gundle approach the legacy of Gianni Versace with a different eye, through using the theory and practice of glamour to explain his success as a designer and businessman.

The authors set forth a means for explaining the work of Gianni Versace by first defining glamour theory and then tying it to the work of Versace. Walter Scott, a romantic novelist who wrote novels concerning the Middle Ages, introduced the idea of glamour into literary language. The aspect of escapist fantasy in these novels appealed to the bourgeoisie. The idea of glamour explained the desire of realistic situations with out inconvenience. The late 19th and early 20th century welcomed a more consumer driven economy, where products associated with desirable characteristics (beauty, wealth, youth, etc) were becoming the objects of desire of the bourgeoisie. This idea carries through to the golden age of Hollywood were wealth equated to morality. However, it is in the realm of the French courtesan that glamour and fashion truly intersect.

The French courtesan was the beginning of the commercialization of sex. Courtesans essentially marketed themselves through purveying a specific image. “…they possessed precisely the qualities of beauty, desirability, fashionableness, and wealth that attracted attention. The courtesan fitted so well with the new order because she was a professional of make-believe and illusion in an era in which appearances became substance” (Buckley and Gundle 6). The courtesan was the perfect combination of attributes, resulting in the concept of modern glamour.

Buckley and Gundle explain Versace’s rise to prominence during the 1970s fashion revolution, in which consumer aspirations and economic growth made luxury ready to wear possible. In the 1990s, Versace developed his aesthetic of over the top glamour for which the brand is known for today. Versace experienced incredible success as result of Italy’s lax tax system and control over brand image. The new rich flocked to Versace, as his designs represented an idealized image of jet set glamour.

Versace’s association with glamour is dependant upon many factors. Buckley and Gundle highlight “Image and Celebrity, ” “The Versace style,” and “Gender and Sexuality” as factors contributing to Versace’s glamorous image. Versace was calculated purveyor of his brand, creating associations with celebrities in order to cultivate an image of glamour. Furthermore, Versace’s work was heavily influenced by the decadence of the Italian renaissance, which inevitably associates the brand with power and aristocracy. Finally, Versace favored a non-conformist woman, who embraced her sexuality and powers of seduction, harkening to the courtesan.

The authors conclude by tying Versace to the features of glamour they had defined earlier, ultimately deciding that Gianni Versace use of paradoxical vulgarity and elegance, emphasis on desirable images and excess, and construction alluring models of femininity place Versace with in the legacy of modern glamour. It becomes apparent through a close reading of this text, that Versace’s success is inextricably tied to the commercialization of sexual power.

About the Authors: Flash Trash: Gianni Versace and the theory and practice of glamour” is found in “Fashion Cultures: Theories, explorations and analysis” and was published in 2000. Stephen Gundle is the author of “Glamour: a History” which was published in 2008. Réka C.V. Buckley is a professor at the University of Portsmouth specializing in film and visual studies.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Power of Appearances, Part II

by Katherine Hom

See the recent history of fashion photography here.

Steven Meisel, State of Emergency, Vogue Italia, 2006

“Doing Fashion Photography,” Erica Lennard
Erica Lennard is a photographer born in New York in 1950. She has published 14 books and has worked with Perry Ellis, Vogue, Elle, Marie Claire, and Rolling Stone. She is also well known for her work photographing gardens.

In this article Lennard’s reflections on her work reveal many of the ideas central to realism. When shooting models she looks to bring out a “personal quality” by being quiet and only directing their movements in an attempt to make them relax enough to be natural. She looks for a feeling of vulnerability. She prefers hair and makeup to be simple and unartificial and draws inspiration on how to pose models from real life, film, and paintings.

Erica Lennard's photo for Perry Ellis in the 1980's

Reflecting the blend of between art and photography that realism takes she states, “I consider my fashion photography an extension of my own work as an artist.” And wants to portray women that others can relate to “instead of frozen hard sex symbols habitually seen.”

She also prefers to work in natural light, out in the direct sunlight. She finds magic in the ability of light to transform reality and wants to document what happens in a place when light falls in a specific way. All her pictures are done outside of a studio in the available light.

She also notes the difference between doing work for European magazines versus American magazines. In Europe, magazines give the photographer total freedom to choose models, locations, etc while the editor simply chooses clothes and oversees shooting. In America the editors want to maintain a certain look and models are chosen from a small group of typical girls used.

“Escaping to Reality: Fashion Photography in the 1900s,” Elliott Smedley
Elliott Smedley is a UK fashion editor and stylist and has worked as a styling consultant to Burberry since 2002. This article, “Escaping to Reality: Fashion Photography in the 1900s”, was published in Fashion Cultures: Theories, explorations and analysis, by Stella Bruzzi and Pamela Church Gibson in 2002.

In the 1990s a realistic style became prominent in fashion photography. This included capturing models “behaving like human beings”, doing realistic activities. According to Smedley, this shift in aesthetics had a lot to do with the link between fashion and art. He states that the fashion world will periodically try to shed its overly commercial image, and in doing this, plays towards art. In this case, the art was documentary photography, which aims to represent human experience and plight. Since fashion photography usually creates fiction and the ideal, this lean towards documentary photography opened up a whole new realm of possibility.

Nan Goldin, Matsuda, “Naked in New York,” 1996

To understand why the style of realism in of the 1990s was so significant, we need to look back at the history of fashion photography. As a reaction to fashion illustration, photography grew extremely popular during the 1920s and 1930s. Readers of magazines wanted to see the fashions displayed thoroughly and faithfully rather than as a decorative art. Photographs were seen as realistic depictions without artistic distortion. However, it really just continued the trend of creating visual fantasy that women could aspire to. Also using aristocrats and socialites furthered this concept. Movements such as modernism and surrealism influenced fashion photography, introducing graphic and geometric, and dream-like photographs. Realism inspired a less formal approach, depicting models for the first time in motion. Static poses began to disappear, replaced by “moments of narrative, fleeting impressions and relaxed actions.” Also prevalence of commercial pictures over elitist imagery reflects the influence of sportswear and Hollywood on fashion photography. As their potential to be commodities increased, models became uniformly youthful and unblemished.

The 1940s and WWII was a pivotal moment for realism in fashion photos since displays of excess and frivolity were discouraged and fashion itself moved into a more austere realm to ration goods. Lee Miller was a key photographer of this period, praised for shooting women in wartime and everyday situations in British Vogue. During the 1950s Richard Avedon captured looks, mannerisms, and gestures, and Irving Penn focused on the anthropological and sociological elements of fashion photography. Trends that emerged included the “spontaneous snapshot” and the use of location rather than studio. Still many of these photos contained a “fiction of reality”, an imagined image of what a women would look like to others in this situation.

Bob Richardson, French Vogue, 1960's

In the 1960s the role of fashion photography became involve with discussions of race, sexuality, and class. The “Terrible Three”, David Bailey, Terence Donovan, and Brian Duffy emphasized sexuality in their photographs. Models like Jean Shrimpton and Twiggy, known for their ‘ordinariness’ became role models for the new generation as the dominance of couture dissipated. Fashion imagery of metropolitan youth culture reinforced the idea of the “liberated new woman”. Bob Richardson added a new side to this woman, creating snapshots of her despair and melancholy while located in wealthy and glamorous settings. He created a tableauz with realistic themes. Guy Bourdin and Helmut Newton continued these themes in the 1970s. They created highly stylized and explicit images, which embodied cultural debates like the eroticism of women and fantasies and myths of sexuality. They were accused of being exploitative and regressive.

Meanwhile a new side of documentary photography was emerging through recording punk street style of the time. This first occurred in photojournalism, in an attempt to document the new social phenomenon. In 1978 Vogue came out with Not Another Teen Punk Book, featuring portraits of punks. This inspired the magazine i.D. in 1980, that showed photographs of people spotted on the street rather than models, turning the focus onto the fashionable ordinary person. The idea of living a fashionable lifestyle democratized fashion. Realism stepped in to fill the space between the ordinary fashionable person and the superhuman ‘supermodel.

This style of realism in the 1990s was a deliberate ‘anti-glamour’, labeled the ‘school of London’. The contructed image was rejected for the “artless, the unstaged, the semi conscious, the sexually indeterminate and the pubescent”. The precise photographic techniques of the past were abandoned. This style had roots in the insecure political climate and global recession of the time. Major photographers included Corinne Day, David Sims, Juergen Teller, and Nigel Shafran. Corinne Day was one of the first with her series of Kate Moss from The Face in 1990 entitled ‘The Third Summer of Love’. She was shown as a young free-spirited girl, in simple relaxed clothing, near nudity in a natural way, lacking grooming, with playful gestures, squinting and laughing. These supported themes of innocence, teen spirit, and immaturity. There was something very intimate in these photographs, as if this was a private unstaged moment. The technique as well as the bond of friendship that Day an Moss shared resulted in this combination of realistic documentation and fashion photography. From this optimistic innocence Day’s style shifts towards pessimistic loneliness and urban alienation. In the series ‘Under Exposure’ for Vogue in 1993, Moss is shown alone in a cold starkly furnished flat, half dressed. There are connotations of poverty and a sense of isolation, alienation, and boredom. There is a grim reality present here signaling to awkwardness and uncertainty of youth. Next to glossy glamour photos in Vogue, these images and themes stood out stronger. Where once fashion photography was primarily concerned with creating a fantasy and unattainable ideal, this new documentary style challenged traditional practices. What is told instead is a “narrative of misfortune”. In its voyeuristic ‘real-ness’, these images could be discomforting and their context can confuse the intention.

Corinne Day, Third Summer of Love and Under Exposure

A major influence was Nan Goldin, who created a photodiary of her life and friends as an art piece. While Goldins snapshots convey an intimacy, the intimacy of Day’s photographs scould be seen as exploitative possibly because the role of fashion photography had always been to sell something and never a reflection of something really true. Rather than being seen as an art piece in revealing situations and needs of less fortunate, it might be seen as promoting a destructive ideal since fashion photography traditionally sells a lifestyle. Goldin faced this problem as well in her work for Matsuda and Helmut Lang. As art and fashion photography blend, it is difficult to keep the two from bleeding into one another. Validity of personal word can come under question, as if working in fashion somehow compromises its sincerity.

Nan Goldin, Ballad of Sexual Dependency and Matsuda below

An image by Juergen Teller brings up another side to realism. In the photo the model, a bruised and battered Kristen Mcmenamy, is nude with the word ‘Versace’ written in lipstick in a heart shape on her body and set up against a very contrived backdrop. Teller seems to suggest the exploitation of women by the fashion image. However this almost comes off as a parody of realist fashion photography. By mixing realist snapshot aesthetic with the contrived backdrop, his ‘realist’ message is displayed as inauthentic, putting other realist images under question as well.

Juergen Teller

Rolard Barthes said that this new movement creates a new social value in which the private becomes public in an attempt to “affirm what has been lost through virtual reality.” These images “seem to reinforce the bonds of human community by reclaiming lost areas of compassion and humanity”. In this way fashion photography has taken on the function that photojournalism has lost, with the ability to reach a wider audience than art or social documentary photography could. These images challenges conventional ideals, democratizes fashion, and forces us to ask questions and address wider concerns. 

The contemporary result is Inez & Vinoodh, Before After for V magazine showing both real life and studio.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Power of Appearances

by Sara Johenning

See the early history of fashion photography here.

Steven Klein, Vogue Italia, 2008

Roland Barthes, “Fashion Photography”
Roland Barthes was a French literary theorist, philosopher, critic, and semiotician of the 20th century. Semiotics is the formal study of signs and symbols. Barthes was very interested in examining the relationship between cultural material, bourgeois society, and power – and found semiotics very useful in these interrogations. Barthes’ comprehensive roster of work includes writings on fashion, photography, and structuralism/deconstructionism. “Fashion Photography” appeared as an appendix in Barthes’ 1967 work, The Fashion System.

Barthes begins by confronting the problems with photographing a fashion garment. This garment is referred to as a signifier, i.e., the thing or object. However Fashion does not only attempt to photograph garments and objects, but it also aims to capture a certain world, mood, or feeling as well. This more generalized concept (articulated in fashion photography via the set) is referred to as the signified. The signified is a concept, indicated by the signifier. The signifier is fixed, whereas the signified is more abstract and can change, according to context, audience, and interpretation.

Guy Bourdin, Charles Jourdan shoes, 1970's

Barthes continues that the Fashion photograph depicts the world as a, “decor, a background or a scene, in short, as a theater” (pg 517). This world captured by Fashion photography is meticulously coordinated and thoughtfully planned out in order to evoke a certain mood, feeling, or idea. Fashion photography establishes equivalences through these worlds, therefore making them concrete and easily accessible associations of ideas. Within Fashion photography, there are three types of styles articulated:

1) objective/literal (travel = a woman looking over a map)

Louise Dahl Wolfe, 1950's

2) romantic (night = a woman in a glamorous evening gown)

“Romantic”, Terry Richardson, Vogue Paris, 2007

3) mockery/outrageous
(comic, caricatured, caught in an amusing stance/attitude)

“Mockery/Outrageous”, Steven Meisel, Vogue Italia, 2009

The purpose of these three varying levels of fashion photography, as Barthes argues, is so that they make Fashion’s signifieds unreal. By making everything else in a Fashion photograph (i.e. set, style, body language, model, etc.) unreal, then the signifier - the garment – what is being sold, becomes the only plausible and maintainable remainder of the image. Fashion photography is not hiding or concealing its meaning, but rather it is making it so hyper-apparent that the only understandable element left is the garment.

Rosetta Brookes, “The double-page spread: Helmut Newton, Guy Bourdin & Deborah Turbeville”
Rosetta Brookes is a contemporary professor and writer. In addition to her work on Helmut Newton, Guy Bourdin, and Deborah Tubeville, she has also published works on Robert Rauschenberg, Edward Kienholz, and William T. Wiley – among others. Brookes is currently a professor at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. “The double-page spread: Helmut Newton, Guy Bourdin & Deborah Turbeville” was originally published in Camerawork Magazine, the 1976-1985 British magazine that was dedicated to a critical and contextual study of photography.

The horizontal frame of the double page spread, Guy Bourdin

Brookes begins her essay by focusing on how fashion photography has traditionally received belittled and insignificant praise from the conventional photography world. Whereas other forms of photography are praised for capturing beauty in the stumbled-upon scenario, fashion photography produces images that are meticulously planned and contrived. Brookes states that, “fashion advertising, in particular, is seen as negating the purity of the photographic image. We see the typical [in fashion photography] instead of the unique moment or event” (pg 520).

Brookes addresses that throughout the 1980s and 1990s, fashion advertising was growing in two directions. One the one end, there were advertisements from the Japanese Avant-Garde brands, Yohji Yamomoto, Issey Miyake, and Comme des Garcons – producing ads where the images where blurred and no product was being overtly sold or communicated to the customer; relying on the customer’s elite knowledge of the brand in order to provoke and/or entice sales. On the other end of the spectrum, as particularly popular in the United States and Britain, were fashion advertisements that were selling lifestyle imagery. This lifestyle communication through advertisement articulated a synthesis between viewing the image of the garment as something we see, and understanding it as something we wear.

Helmut Newton, 1978

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the double-page spread was brought into the fashion magazine in new ways. At the same time, much sexist imagery and sexual stereotyping – mainly seen through fashion photography, was dominating the content of said magazines. Brookes argues that the 1970s lacked the iconic fashion woman of the 1960s (i.e. Twiggy and Jean Shrimpton), and as a result of this voided photographic muse, many models of the decade appeared to represent a, “well-established physical norm” (pg 521). A model’s individuality was reduced to her ability to be recognized amongst and within a crowd of other models. Such monotony and generalized familiarization with models allowed the stereotyping to continue on.

Helmut Newton, 1970's

Helmut Newton was a photographer of the time that had his own specified type of model – she was, “one with the gloss of the image, to be flicked past and consumed in a moment” (pg 521-522). Because of Newton’s use of harsh color and hyper-glossed aesthetic, “the artificiality of the image is emphasized” (pg 522). The Newton model was a woman full of alienness – accentuating and manipulating existing sexual stereotypes; they are both foreign to and archetypes of said sexual connotations. She appears to have no personality at all – transporting her to the realm of the fetishized, glossy, commodified inanimate object. A perfect example of this was when Newton mixed dummies with real models for a shoot in the June 1977 issue of Vogue Paris.

Guy Bourdin for Charles Jourdan

During the post-war period of consumerist expansion and the growth of mass-market industry and consumption, there was a fear that a degree of sameness would plague all facets of culture. Guy Bourdin emerged as a successful fashion photographer in the aftermath of the unsure and marginalized media culture. He used the double-page spread as a structure for communicating and displaying the images in which he photographed. He aligned models and the human body in accordance to the fixed forms of the double-paged magazine spread (i.e. positioning the model’s legs on either side of the fold) – creating an artistic marriage between the abstract human form and the rigid and precise geometric form of the magazine. Furthermore, Bourdin focused on the spatial arrangements of his subjects – whether they were models or shoes. His experimentation with division, alteration, and depth played on the viewer’s expectation and familiarity, creating a ‘trap for the gaze’ with his images, for Bourdin was able to emancipate, “the image from its caption, and the product-image from the product” (Pg 525).

Guy Bourdin for Charles Jourdan

In the post-nostalgic times of the late 20th century, Deborah Turbeville emerged as a photographer focused on the reluctance between self-images. Instead of choosing archetypal and glossy models, like Newton and Bourdin, Turbeville chose models based on their divergence from the intended depicted character/form. In the divide between the model chosen and the message intended, Turbeville allows the viewer to discover the tense reality of acting/pretending in order to adhere to an expected self-image. Turbeville is aware of the hard-to-categorize tendencies of her images, for she claims, “I am not a fashion photographer, I am not a photo-journalist, I am not a portraitist” (pg 526). By separating herself, yet simultaneously drawing from the aforementioned genres, Turbeville allows her images to break up and redefine the structure of representation.

Deborah Turbeville, Bath Series, 1970's

“Extreme Beauty in Vogue” was a photography exhibit last year in Milan. It is currently now available as a book, published by SKIRA. The photo collection consists of various works by Richard Avedon, Helmut Newton, and most prolifically, Irving Penn. The photographs in the curation depict hyper-stylized and hyper-realized images of the body in relation to unusual cosmetic materials (i.e. tarantulas, diced fruit, etc.). The collection of images is also incredibly detailed-specific, showcasing the technical abilities and masteries of modern mediums and brilliant minds.

Irving Penn, 2002

Thursday, March 11, 2010

YSL in Paris

The first ever comprehensive exhibition of Yves Saint Laurent is being presented at the Petit Palais in Paris March - August 2010. Read the Times review here and my take here.

Yves Saint Laurent, 1983 & 1990

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Burberry Brand

by Nicole Schloss

Emma Watson for Burberry, 2010

The Burberry Business Model:
Creating an International Luxury Fashion Brand
This article, written by Christopher M. Moore and Grete Birtwistle, was first published in the International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, volume 32, issue 8 in 2004. Christopher M. Moore is a professor in the School of Management and Languages at Glasgow Caledonian University as well as the Director of the George Davies Centre for Retail Excellence. He received his PhD in international fashion retailing and branding, particularly with respect to fashion marketing. Grete Birtwistle is Head of the Division of Fashion, Marketing and Retail at the Caledonian Business School of Glasgow Caledonian University. She earned her PhD in store imaging and positioning for fashion retailers. She currently researches the ways of increasing the speed in the fashion supply chain and textile sustainability. Additionally, Moore and Birtwistle founded the British Institute for Fashion Research. Their article systematically outlines the strategies which Burberry, the luxury brand founded in 1856, took to improve its management and brand quality in 1998 after a £37m decrease in sales revenue over the 1997-1998 fiscal year.

Moore and Birtwistle note that “the viability of a fashion brand is dependent upon the efficacy and the appropriateness of the decisions of those responsible for its management,” meaning that the success of a brand comes not just from the look of the clothes, but also from its internal organization. Thus it was Rose Marie Bravo’s appointment as CEO in 1997 that brought about a multitude of changes that effectively changed all aspects of the brand, bringing it into the contemporary fashion world. As a brand that has existed since 1856, Burberry was caught between its traditional, upper echelon clientele and the need to move into the fast-paced, fashion-forward lifestyle to which all luxury brands of the day have adapted.

Systematically, Moore and Birtwistle break down the Burberry model into four categories each with their own subcategories; products, manufacturing and sourcing, distribution channels and marketing communications. These four major governing sects of Burberry are united by the three major components by which any luxury brand must abide; brand management, product design and sourcing, and brand distribution. Brand management, meaning establishing a distinct logo and lifestyle was crucial in defining Burberry as a luxury brand through advertising and the creation of four flagship stores. Product design and sourcing allowed for the creation of six different Burberry labels, all under the creative direction of Christopher Bailey. Burberry also worked hard to ensure the integrity of their brand would remain the same by reducing its use of outside licensees. It owns all of its retail stores (except those in Japan), thereby making it easy to control the quality of its products. Finally, a change in brand distribution allowed Burberry management to really know where and how its products were being sold. As such an expansive empire, Burberry managed to centralize its management and maintain a tight control on all of its retail and wholesale chains.

While this article was extremely factual and concerned with numbers and methods of organization, a few points stand out. First, this type of business model for a fashion empire seems both effective and common across other brands. Gucci under Tom Ford is mentioned as an example of a company that also maximized its internal control and saw immediate success. A fashion brand cannot function if its management staff is uncoordinated and thrown off by globalization. It was interesting to see how the changes in fashion tastes were the impetus for this realization. The loss of Burberry’s so-called “cachet” (p.1) caused its internal structure to also fall apart. Thus a business strategy with a determined system of checks and balances is necessary to keep up with the times. The symbiotic relationship Burberry has achieved between its retail and wholesale chains also has contributed to its continued success in both the luxury and affordable markets. In order for Burberry to maintain expensive advertising campaigns and consumer interest, it needs wholesale chains for extra revenue.

Strategically showing the mix of Burberry consumers by Mario Testino 2001

The article highlighted the machine-like quality of a luxury fashion brand in its need to be organized and extremely centralized. The lavish lifestyle Burberry (and any other fashion brand) promotes is just as manufactured as any of its clothing. Brands are sold to us with all-encompassing packages of luxury yet we rarely think about the sourcing and licensing issues. Burberry’s model shows us that brand reinvention must happen on both internal and external levels, meaning management and direction, and the appearance of the clothes themselves.

The Burberry old garde and the new together in 2002 by Mario Testino

Burberry's ads 2008 above and 2009 below