Scanning over newest spring ad campaigns, for a moment it looked like Versace was reprising its classic supermodel-strewn photos shot by Richard Avedon in the mid-90s. But as it turns out, they're not Avedon photos at all, nor are they even ads for Versace paying homage to Mr. Avedon and that era, but in fact images for Roberto Cavalli's spring collection.
The photos, taken by Steven Meisel (left) bear a striking resemblance to Avedon's (right, and here), don't you think?
There's no shortage of knockoffs in fashion—as in any creative industry—and yet there's something surprising when the case involves one well-known brand imitating another. Because it is such a visible act (versus, say a large fashion company like Urban Outfitters replicating the designs of an independent, Brooklyn-based designer) is it meant to be viewed as less offensive? Sincere flattery versus blatant cribbing?
One can't help but be a little disappointed, and offended even—as a viewer. It's true that with the volume of stimuli we're exposed to on a daily basis, fashion seems more ephemeral than ever. And yet those Versace ads, which became a 12-year-old's primer on the most super of supermodels at that time, were hardly forgettable. You can't copyright style, but true originality leaves a lasting impression on its own.