the cues of beauty…

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29/12/2010 by Sarah Ritchie

Juicy Couture

What makes something “beautiful”?

I work in an area of Auckland that the local retail association likes to tout as the “fashion capital of New Zealand”. Most of the major brands are present and the main street advertising reads like a “who’s who” of fashion labels.

Walking through the shopping precinct, recently, I stopped in my tracks in front of some bus shelter advertising for Juicy Couture’s latest perfume “Peace, Love & Juicy Couture“. Bam! The image hit my feminine eye and I stood there, staring for more than a few seconds (until the man sitting in the bus shelter started giving me strange looks).

My first thought was “wow, I LOVE that image“. My second thought was “why do I love that image?“. Then, I started analysing the poster (which, I am sure, was not the advertiser’s original intention, but, hey, at least it kept me there looking at the product for a while!).

What was it about the image (exactly the same as the shot above) that I found so pretty and lovely and beautiful and so girly that I wanted to wrap it up and take it home with me (the poster, that is, not the perfume)? Let’s look at some of the “cues” that the stylist/photographer/ad agency have used in this masterpiece of female-skewed photography:

  • butterflies (and lots of them)
  • colours simmering between “dusky” and “pastel” shades
  • long faux-fur collar (in a neutral colour to make the other elements pop, but at the same time retaining its strength of texture)
  • gold
  • hearts
  • unusual jewellery bling
  • post-production work: highly retouched model, digitally-saturated colour and high contrast

I have to admit that in my fashion-deficient world I actually didn’t know what “Juicy Couture” was, but – thanks to this advertising – I was motivated enough to go home and do some Googling. That’s 10 points for the ad man!


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Finalist, Estuary Art Awards 2011
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