This is a shot from the new Marc Jacobs campaign, featuring Miley Cyrus.
Take in all the gothic moodiness: the storm on the horizon, the black sea, the blonde figure standing in the shadows, the total absence of rosiness from Miley’s cheeks, the female corpse lying on the sand to Miley’s right.
Yes, that’s a dead girl on the sand beside Miles.
She’s beautifully dressed, obviously. Her red hair matches Miley’s maroon shorts, which is nice. And they’re wearing matching navy tops with frills, like they accidentally left the house in the same outfit.
Only – let’s revisit this one more time – the model on the sand has been made to look like a corpse.
Why? Did someone triple-dare Marc Jacobs to advertise his clothes in the creepiest way possible?
I’m completely flummoxed.
Surely the primary purpose of an ad is to make you want to rush out and buy the clothes, but this has no commercial appeal to me whatsoever. If this image was in a photographic exhibition, sure. I’d stop, stare, and try to find meaning in it. But as a fashion ad? What is going on?
This Corpse Chic trend isn’t new. Check out this Jimmy Choo ad from all the way back in 2006:
This one’s got a more overt murder vibe… and the last thing I think looking at it is “that dead woman in the boot has really nice shoes, I’m going to get me a pair”. I wonder who this woman is, what happened to her, whether that guy will get away with it, and why the fashion industry is complicit in fetishising female corpses.
Actually, the entertainment industry is in on it too. Look at this Entertainment Weekly cover promoting the upcoming film Gone Girl (it’s an adaptation of the book, which you should read immediately if you haven’t already).
Ben Affleck, who plays Nick in the film, is fully dressed, alert and very much alive. Rosamund Pike, who plays Amy, is in a silk nightie and bra, pale, and lifeless with a tag tied around her toe. Yes, at least this one is vaguely connected to the plot of a movie. But there’s still a clear editorial decision here to feature Rosamund as a corpse.
What do you think? Have Marc Jacobs, Jimmy Choo and Hollywood gone too far? Or is it OK if it’s all in the name of fashion?