Review of Lanvin Spring 2021 Ad Campaign by Creative Director Ezra Petronio of agency Petronio Associates, Photographers Mert & Marcus with Paris Hilton
Paris Hilton is back in a new campaign for Lanvin, but you might not recognize her. Masterminded by creative director Ezra Petronio and featuring photography by duo Mert and Marcus, the Spring 2021 campaign shows us the personality of the OG influencer like we’ve never seen it before.
Inspired by 1950’s portraits of New York City’s society women, then referred to as “swans,” the campaign reinterprets the modern-day swan – the influencer. During her cultural hey-day in the 2000’s, Paris Hilton transformed the idea of celebrity probably more than any other individual ever. Her reignition of the “famous for being famous” phenomenon, soon amplified by the advent of social media, laid the blueprint for today’s world of influencer culture.
A major part of this persona is her status as a style icon. With the trendy return of Y2K style – which Paris, again, probably defined more than any other figure – we’ve also seen her return to high fashion. She recently starred in campaigns for Valentino and Coach, the latter of which especially leaned into the aughties aesthetic. But this new campaign for Lanvin casts the celebutante in a completely new light, and by doing so becomes her best campaign yet.
When we began discussing this campaign, I knew I wanted to portray Paris Hilton in a way that she has never been seen before. She is quite known for her long blonde hair and glimmery style and we wanted to shed light on her ability to transform – much like a swan. As the originator of the influencer movement and the idea of ‘famous for being famous,’ I wanted to show the world how far she has come in the industry that she created. We stripped back the styling and allowed her natural beauty to be captured.
— Bruno Sialelli, Creative Director of Lanvin
Elegant, intellectual, and refined, the styling is about as far a cry from the sequined-Juicy-sweatsuit-with-chihuahua-accessory look as possible. Alternating between exquisitely tailored jackets and shimmering gowns, Paris perfectly embodies that classic New York City society woman – though in keeping with Lanvin’s disciplined combination of heritage and forward thinking, the approach to the designs feel distinctly modern.
Mert and Marcus capture Paris in simple and elegant studio portraiture, letting the strength of these designs and her natural beauty shine through. Contrary to our expectations based on the past, these two aspects support each other quite well. Even the soundtrack for the three brief short films – Brian Eno’s classic weirdo bop “Baby’s On Fire” – seems specifically chosen to disrupt our expectations of the sensibility and personality behind this famous name and face.
America’s reaction to Paris Hilton’s celebrity, at once celebratory and spiteful, probably deserves a deep cultural study of its own. While criticisms of extreme, unwarranted wealth are certainly valid, much of the vitriol directed toward Paris herself (and associated stars like Britney Spears and Lindsey Lohan) felt mired in misogyny. We are far from the exploitative chaos of that era, but as some of its aesthetics creep back in, we can also identify a similarity between its paparazzi exploitation and our current conversation around whether a models, influencers, and those who fall in the gray area between, own their own image. Thus, the timing of the campaign feels in part like a powerfully feminist statement that Paris is her own person who determines her own worth and image, as well as being a celebration of personal discovery and growth.
I’m humbled to be working with Lanvin for their Spring/Summer campaign and to be able to contribute to the brand’s legacy. I’ve always been a fan of the house and personally admire the founder Jeanne Lanvin. She was able to build an empire from one small shop that still exists 130 years later. Her entrepreneurial spirit is so incredible – remind you of anyone else?
— Paris Hilton
Lanvin Creative Director | Bruno Sialelli Agency | Petronio Associates Creative Director | Ezra Petronio Photographers | Mert and Marcus Talent | Paris Hilton Stylist | Carlos Nazario Hair | Jimmy Paul Makeup | Etienne Ortega
WHERE FASHION GETS CREATIVE
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