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A BARNEYS TALE: Coco Rocha confidently plays the title character in “Emma’s Dilemma,” Barneys New York’s fall catalogue, dropping on Aug. 30 to 250,000 homes. Emma’s dilemma will be familiar to every girl who wants to have it all — and what girl doesn’t? Especially when it involves shoes by Manolo Blahnik and Christian Louboutin, frocks by Lanvin, Valentino and Versace, and baubles by Cathy Waterman and Irene Neuwirth. “Making decisions has never been my strong point,” says Emma, sounding a familiar theme. “When faced with a chocolate eclair or a macaroon, I dither and procrastinate and end up nibbling on both.”
“I thought women could relate to this story,” said Barneys creative director Simon Doonan, referring to the difficult choices fashion mavens must make. In Doonan’s story, Emma agonizes about Gustavo and Skipper. “A crossroads. A gruesome decision. An affair of the heart,” she says. “Skipper is old-fashioned. He’s a poet and a romantic. Gustavo is crazy, reckless…exhausting, demanding and devastatingly handsome.” While Emma struggles to choose between Skipper and Gustavo, she doesn’t equivocate when it comes to style.
“The theme is, ‘Oh just buy both,’” said Doonan, adding that even though the economy is fragile, the catalogue’s message is right for these times. “Embedded in there is permission to be a little self-indulgent. It’s a bit of glamorous self-indulgence.”
Lina Kutsovskaya, recently named vice president of advertising and art director at Barneys, said, “Our goal is to make mailers with iconic, evocative imagery while being inspired by individual style and contemporary culture.” Doonan wants the catalogue to be an antidote to typical fashion ads where there’s “just a logo and a girl looking stunned and staring into the middle distance. People are starved of stories when they look at fashion advertising. We try to be interesting and keep it cheeky. It’s what gives us an edge at Barneys.” — Sharon Edelson