Spanish fashion designer Adolfo Dominguez, that’s who. Brand suicide? Brand brilliance? Or just brand conviction?
It’s over 90 degrees and you can feel the heat of the sidewalk through the soles of your shoes when you stop. Keep moving. But people are stopping. To look at the new Adolfo Dominguez poster girl in store fronts.
‘Sé Más Viejo’ (‘Be MoreOld’) is the written message alongside a black and white image of a female model, hands deep in her elegant pockets, lines deep in her elegant face.
“I love it, I really love it,” says a mature woman checking out the new season’s offerings in the shop window. “It acknowledges that we’re not all young and perfect for ever, we’re just not.”
“The lines on a woman’s face tell her life,” says her younger friend. “That is a real señora, a beautiful señora with a whole lot of presence.”
“Are they advising us to be more classic?” hazards a sharply-dressed man in his fifties. “It’s an instruction. They’re not saying it’s okay to look older.”
Adolfo Dominguez broke the mould in 1984 with the slogan, ‘La Arruga es Bella’ (‘Wrinkles are Beautiful’), which was intended to underscore the natural beauty of clothing, wrinkles and all, as a second skin. In the same year, the company designed the outfits for the popular U.S. detective show Miami Vice.
Last year they put out images of a pregnant woman dressed as if for battle. “Some people found the association of motherhood and war offensive,” a store manager told us. “Others loved the illustration that all mothers are prepared every day to do whatever it takes.”
The ‘Be More Old’ campaign appears to be provoking similar confusion/controversy. It is, in part, a defense of durability against the tides of fast fashion. It illustrates the wisdom and value associated with longevity and careful choices.
“Maybe we all have a tendency to dress younger than we should,” admits a thirty-something male. “But who wants to be told to do this by the brand?”
“The poster shows that fashion is for everyone,” says a woman in her twenties. “I like that.”