Stage two in the re-invention of Miley Cyrus has begun, thanks to Marc Jacobs and his new ad campaign. After taking a wrecking ball to her Disney image via Terry Richardson and the twerking-with-Robin-Thicke VMA incident, thus rendering her former self unrecognisable, she is now rebuilding. It’s one of fashion’s talents, after all; the Eliza Doolittle story writ lux. Will it work in this case? Betcha yes.
Indeed, the entirely canny one-two-punch of Richardson/Jacobs to recreate Miley seems like strategy at the highest level. I don’t think this all happened by accident.
After all, fashion loves a high/low moment – consider the rise of Kim Kardashian, taken suddenly seriously on the back of her W magazine cover, or Kate Upton, who moved from Sports Illustrated pin-up to UK Vogue cover girl – and Jacobs loves one more than anyone. He has, ever since he created luxury grunge when he worked at Perry Ellis back in the early 1990s, scandalising everyone, getting himself fired and setting off a quazillion trends. Plus, he has experienced his own addiction/redemption cycle (more than once), and understands the narrative value of the rebirth, not to mention the power of re-imagineering.
If you’ll remember, there was a lot of grumbling over the news Victoria Beckham would star in his ad campaign in 2008, but when the pics came out with her skinny legs and sunglasses-clad head protruding from a shopping bag, hence poking fun at her own shopaholic image, everyone was charmed – and a few months later her fashion line was launched to an industry suddenly inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt. He’s not a bad Henry Higgins.
Certainly, Miley looks good in the new ad campaign: broody and cool. Sitting on a desiccated beach (kind of like the volcanic beach Jacobs created for the show) in shorts and elaborately detailed marching band jacket, she’s not overly made up or overly sexed up; she looks good, looks her age, and looks – well, thoughtful. Like: “Hmm, so I am in the wilderness, where do I go from here?”
To Jacobs’s showroom, obviously! My guess is this is just the beginning. What do you think? I’m going to do a column on it, so would really like to know.