But, then, they always do.
Fresh off the back of the Vans collab, we have their collection with designer, Rachel Antonoff. And the promo vid is under the creative helm of Lena Dunham. And it stars Zoe Kazan. It's like a Trifecta of female empowerment all wrapped up in the sweetest (yet tailored and professional) pastel bow.
Seriously, though. Everything about this collab is charming and bound to win every girl over. You can't help but smile along with a sense of camaraderie.
The promo vid features Kazan canvassing the neighbourhood in the run up to an election. Sadly, the people who answer the door are less than receptive and laugh in her face, tell her to go away and slam said door in said face. In light of this abuse and negative reaction, she slips into a daydream, imaging a world where she has been made president. Which is where the fun really begins.
I have seen commentary online expressing dissatisfaction with a brand wielding politics and feminism in pursuit of financial gain, noting that the whole thing misses the mark and belittles women. People are, of course, entitled to their opinions but I strongly disagree. I think this video and collection and concepts behind it are right on the money, hitting all my nostalgia buttons. What woman can't relate to being a little girl and imagining being in charge and how good a job you'd do?
A point of contention is Audrey's (Kazan) announcement that she's here to talk about "women, children and small animals". People seem to believe that this is trivialising women's issues but I think the contrary. Not only does it evoke that same sense of childhood whimsy, it also bands together groups that have one important thing in common: they are often vulnerable and made powerless. Now, she could have mentioned LGBT, race or cultural issues but that would make the video into something else entirely.
This is a promo video for a collection. It has commercial interests so, to engage too seriously with hot-button issues would be somewhat shady and disrespectful. It'd be a little closer to when Chanel missed the mark with their protest show. This is referencing things the women buying the collection know and might have faced and intends to give context for clothes intended for women on the go. Not to teach us something or change opinions.
And what it does, it does well. It shows how these items might be worn, the contexts. It makes them seem cute and wantable. It riffs on girl power in a lighthearted way. It references feminism but is not intended as serious feminist discourse.
The clothes are sweet little skirts and collared dresses that could move from office to garden party, slogan tees and sweatshirts proclaiming, "It's Time," and "We Try Harder", suiting and co-ords in slightly off cuts or unexpected materials. It's the items we expect in a working wardrobe given a twist. It's playful. It's chameleon-like - similar to the women dressing in these clothes.
I say all this being previously not particularly well-acquainted with Antonoff's ouevre, not a massive fan of Dunham's brand of storytelling and neutral towards Kazan. But this has actually made me consider all three differently.
And I still love & Other Stories. Obvs.
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