Thursday, October 23, 2008

Artists in Ad Land: Gilbert & George

In the days when it wasn’t cool for major movie stars to shill for luxury brands, actors like Brad Pitt snuck across the ocean to do it in Japan. The rules were simple: what plays in Japan, stays in Japan. How ironic is it then that just as luxury brands start to struggle under the onset of the credit crunch, a couple of UK artists were pulling the same stunt.

Take the appearance of Gilbert & George flogging suits for Comme des Garçons in Tokyo. The two lads were careful not to use images that would offend high-end shoppers selecting their 1986 work The Long March to background the pinstripe. This is the same G&G who once said, “We don't have anything to say except with our pictures.” And the same ones who inspired Comme des Garcons in the 1990s with the models wearing either wigs of slick hair parted on the side, like Gilbert's, or hair nets to mimic the receding hairline of George. Like Tracey Emin they like it have it all ways. She was happy to pitch for Bombay Sapphire in the UK under a “Taste. And see” by-line.

The film-stars-for-fashion phenomenon is well documented. You can see a good range of it here. Who’s up for the artist version?

Images: top: G&G for CdG. Bottom, Comme staff fuss over the G&G display.