Upscale people have the fast reactions of a jungle cat when it comes to avoiding advertising. They look away so fast the ad will never know what it didn’t hit. When push adds to shove, everybody resists. If you want to convince somebody, the best attraction is seduction. And nothing seduces more than an air of mystery.
Mystery involves us on the deepest, personal level. We identify with what it shows us. It talks to our unconscious, promising us the fulfillment of all our desires.
If you have great fashion design you want to connect it with images with these deeper involving levels of mystery. Such images can have any style you wish and that fits he world of your designs. Here are a few examples from classic art – and why each of them would make a great fashion campaign.
Mystery abounds where most we seek for answers.Ray Bradbury
The promise of Mona Lisa
The smile of the Mona Lisa has puzzled generations, and still nobody knows why she smiles. Which is why she will continue to fascinate until future generations land on Mars, and go beyond.
The image is painted in a serious mood. The landscape is dark. Many shadows may hide things you wouldn’t want to know about – after all, it was painted when the firm beliefs of the medieval ages, full of devils and monsters, were still very strong.
You expect a serious, dramatic facial expression as you find in all portraits of this kind. But there’s that little smile. It puts her apart from the darkness surrounding her.
She knows a beautiful secret. It lightens up her world from the inside. And maybe the world is only dark for us, and not for her?
Imagine she’d be wearing your dress. Your designs would be at the museum long after they left the billboards. It is time for you to begin your quest for your own, personal Mona Lisa.
The seduction into Hieronymus Bosch’s labyrinth
Hieronymus Bosch, the Dutch painter of the Renaissance, has been one of art history’s greatest men of mystery. His fame is for his depiction of hell and the dark side of life.
Lets talk about his paintings where he showed the bright side of life: paradise. Hieronymus Bosch’s “Garden of Earthly Delights” at first glance looks like paradise. When you look closer, the image of a paradise disperses and gives way to something else.
There are countless scenes happening at the same time all over the painting. A naked man rides a lion, holding a fish as if he were aiming a gun. He aims at a naked woman in front of him who rides a cheetah. She leans back, almost falling off the horse, eyes closed in ecstasy. Next to them stands a group of people, listening to a man telling a story, and birds sit on their heads.
Countless scenes like this give way to suspicion. That this is not the paradise. The men and women are bathing in lust, in earthly delights, and while they may feel they are in paradise, the scene looks more and more like a pretty version of hell. But it never gets definitive.
On other days you might see the scenes of the people being caught in their illusions. People who dream and play like children. The painting changes its expression depending on your own mood, which makes is such a mystery.
A fashion house can give the assignment for a great tableau of people that happen to wear their designs. And it would attract people because it is a pictured story you can get lost in… to find yourself. It doesn’t have to be all smiles or fashion stares that attracts people to your brand.
People love mystery, and that is why they love my paintings.Salvador Dali
The adventure of Caravaggio’s Medusa
Caravaggio is the Italian Renaissance painter whose almost photorealistic paintings show scenes as if they were lit briefly by an electric thunderstorm, showing us mysteries before they drop back into absolute blackness.
The Medusa was a terrible creature, who had venomous snakes for hair. Everybody who saw her, turned into stone. The Greek hero Perseus defeated her and chopped her head off.
The Medusa in Caravaggio’s picture is actually not the whole Medusa. It’s just her head. And that is freshly chopped off, and the blood is streaming out of the stump of the neck. The expression of her face is puzzling. It is an expression of the terror she instills on others – mixed with the terror of her own surprising defeat. A very complex and fascinating expression.
The only problem for a fashion designer is that Medusa no longer has a body and can’t wear a dress. But how about a hat? Just be careful about blood stains.
The picture of Medusa lives in a dark zone. We can attract people with dark zones. Hell, people spend weeks and months in artificial game landscapes of a post-nuclear world and they feel happier there than on the sunny beaches of Malibu.
You can pull in people with any kind of mystery you dare to unfold. The more you dare, the more unique you are, and the greater the pull.
Magritte’s painted puzzles
“Son of Man” shows a man in a bowler hat in front of a landscape that could be anywhere and nowhere. We can’t see his face, because there’s an apple floating on front of it.
Magritte is playing against the expectations of a portrait by placing an object – a fruit! – In front of the face.
The man and his clothing are painted beautifully. This strange fact that an apple is messing with your view of the man. Who is the man behind the apple? Hint: it’s not Steve Jobs.
And ideal theme for a fashion mystery, where you cover up the distracting face and have the men’s clothes play a central part. And it would be pictures that would work for you, the designer, for years to come. Even after your collection changes, it would still tout your brand, and lift it into the realms of the mysteries of the art world.
Your designs might end up on museum walls.
Art works for fashion brands
There were many successful works of art in fashion photography that go beyond their commercial goals and add immeasurable attraction and value to the brand they had been created for. The brands experienced an incredible rise in status and high end reputation.
The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.Oscar Wilde
We have the witty picture remarks of Guy Bourdin, the merciless world of Helmut Newton, the dreamscapes of Deborah Turbeville, the futuristic tableaux of Steven Klein, the fantasy world of Tim Walker, the classic portraits of Paolo Roversi, the intricate stories of Steven Meisel.Art has always been commissioned by the powerful and the influential – and by commercial enterprises.
The high end fashion brands have recognized this a long time ago and their mysterious pictures are part of who they are. What about the smaller brands? Are they smaller brands because they don’t dare to open up the book of mystery?
How mysteries grab the fashion audience
As a creator of fashion you want to connect your designs with the outstanding and the mysterious. Mystery is the glamorous antidote to the death by thousand cuts, that is everyday life. You want to create an aura around your designs, the feeling of distance, no matter how close you come. Which will give your designs eternal attraction.
Mystery, this is the absolute life.