Illustrative Fall 2019 Ad Campaign by Julien Ceccaldi
There was a moment when conservative politics provoked an outcry from artists who in turn birthed the irreverent and antiestablishment punk movement login on to change the culture. One would think that today is ripe for history to repeat itself, leaving The Impression to ask “Where is today’s punk?”. Alas, political correctness has converted punks to socially conscious, socially active, do-gooders. In reflection, perhaps the better direction, but at times damn boring.
One of the byproducts of the punk movement was a British comic entitled Tank Girl that politicized the indie counterculture zeitgeist as a cartoon reflection of the growing empowerment of women in punk rock culture. The series first appeared in the launch issue of Deadline in 1988 and went on to inspire products from poster and tees that spoke up against Margaret Thatcher’s Clause 28 which stated that a local authority “shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality” or “promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship.” Her characters conviction even inspired weekly lesbian gatherings called ‘Tank Girl nights.'”
Tank Girl creators Hewlett and Martin recognized that illustration enabled them to not only represent countercultural thinking but to create a visual universe for Tank Girl to live in that wasn’t bound by traditional norms. This thinking ultimately led Hewlett to go on to create the band Gorillaz with Blur’s Damon Albarn.
Cut to today where designers Christa Bösch and Cosima Gadient collaborated with NYC-based illustrative artist Julien Ceccaldi to create Ottolinger’s fall 2019 campaign. Fitting since the design duos fall collection was inspired by Liu Cixin’s Sci-Fi novel The Three-Body Problem.
We used a different medium this season because we wanted to transform the combination of the ordinary and the fantastic.
– Christa Bösch and Cosima Gadient
And fantastic it is as Ceccaldi’s style, a mash-up of Hewlett’s Tank Girl meets Manga, reminds us of the power of illustration to capture one’s imagination and distinctively stand out. Bösch and Gadient have found a unique way to cut through fashion’s clutter to present a campaign that has more memory than most.
We do however wish they had taken it a step further to use illustration’s power of story, unique position to represent counterculture, and lack of handcuffs to reality to build a universe to draw us in. For instance, the brand name of Ottolinger comes from a name on a neighbor’s doorbell at the design duos first studio. And as every Marvel fan can tell you, nothing beats a good ‘origin’ story. This cast could have easily built an interactive universe that would have showcased the seasonal offering while endearing the brand further with that simply storyline.
But tomorrow is another opportunity for another comic panel and the ability to embrace counterculture in a way that drives through fashion’s volume of messages … like a tank.