Zara Man

Spring 2021 Ad Campaign

Review of Zara Man by Creative Director Christophe Derigon of Baron & Baron, Director Fabien Baron & Photographer Craig McDean

A cinematic new campaign from Zara Man presents a stylish yet troubling portrait of masculinity. The campaign is masterminded by director Fabien Baron, with creative direction by Cristophe Derigon and photography by Craig McDean.

Fresh off of directing Dior’s latest fashion presentation, Baron returns to reassert his status as fashion’s leading filmmaker. Conceived as a retro film trailer and titled “The Expert”, the campaign oozes cinematic style.

Baron seems to be specifically drawing on Paul Schrader’s classic American Gigolo. With his suit-and-sunglasses confidence and swaggering sexuality, we can certainly see in our leading man a modern-day Richard Gere. We can also detect similarities in the retro styling and sense of vintage cheesiness, though the styling and set design introduces a 50’s sophistication into Baron’s exploration of 80’s gonzo sensibility.

In this connection, the film’s slightly parodic tone feels important. The imagery unabashedly leans into the heart of toxic masculinity: exploitation of women’s bodies, glorification of alcoholism and violence, the idea that men should not feel emotional or vulnerable. Fortunately, the film does not expect us to take this character seriously, and does have a subtle feeling of making fun of the fact that this kind of person used to be celebrated in the media. Yet it is just this persona that is being used to sell the clothes, and we can’t help but wonder both whether perpetuating this idea of masculinity is irresponsible, and whether it will connect with consumers.

As an exercise in style and tone, however, the excellence of the film is undeniable, and for this Baron deserves our highest compliments. We hope that moving forward, Zara can marry this commitment to aesthetic excellence with a more thoughtful consideration of the impact it can have.

Agency | Baron & Baron
Film Director | Fabien Baron
Director of Photography | Philippe Lesourd
Creative Director | Christophe Derigon
Executive Producer | Mina Viehl
Production | Seeker Productions, 138 Productions
Photographer | Craig McDean
Models | Parker Van Noord & Abby Champion
Stylist | Karl Templer
Hair | Guido Palau
Makeup | Diane Kendal
Set Designer | Stefan Beckman
Casting | Ashley Brokaw

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