Celebrities invading fashion advertising space is not a new phenomenon, particularly in the world of fragrance. In the 80s Catherine Deneuve represented Chanel No. 5, while Carole Bouquet repped the brand’s signature scents throughout the 90s. Fashion has always enjoyed borrowing a little celebrity glamour to hawk its more mainstream goods – however in the past the connection between brand and representative was relatively clear cut. Who better to embody the quintessentially French glamour of Chanel than two iconic Parisians? The advertisements didn’t rely on the celebrity of their pitchwomen – instead they capitalized on the implicit connection between the brand’s vision and the allure of its representatives.
This brings us to Justin Timberlake’s new collaboration with Givenchy for the soon to be released “Play” fragrance. With its iPhone-esque bottle and musical name Timberlake seems like a fairly adept choice. However, once you scratch the surface one finds the collaboration is hollow. What if anything at all does Justin Timberlake have to do with Givenchy? With his suits with sneakers aesthetic and b-boy poseur look he does little to conjure either the neo-goth meets couture stylings of Ricardo Tisci or the more pared down look of Givenchy’s current menswear line. Even the Tom Munro photographs with their shots of J.T. in a leer jet and at the recording studio have little to do with the house and its look. If anything the entire campaign calls to mind not the unforgettable Hubert de Givenchy and his successors but rather the monotonous mall wear of Timberlake’s own line – William Rast.