Fashion advertising isn’t like advertising.
Attitude can be more important than idea.
The photographer can more important than the writer.
What you say is less important than how you say it.
The font is often more important than the argument.
And the gut is definitely more important than the head.
It’s a odd world.
Paul Smith is rumoured to have been on the lookout for an agency for decades.
Organising chemistry meetings every couple of years, but he never ends up appointing an agency, because he can never find one that ‘gets it’.
Jane Trahey got fashion.
She started writing ads in 1947 for Neiman-Marcus in Dallas.
In 1956 she moves to New York to found 425 Advertising Associates for Julius Kayser Inc, as their in-house agency.
Only a couple of years later she leaves to open Jane Trahey Associates.
In New York in 1958 openly lesbian women didn’t start ad agencies.
Vikings probably started more agencies in 1950s New York than lesbians.
From the get go the work is simple, stylish with a kind of sassy, New York attitude.
She has her finger on the pulse.
She picks an up and coming local illustrator to give help her I.M Miller ads charm, his name is Andy Warhola.In 1959 she brings a partner to help manage the business starting to come in.
Although Jane was a writer, really she wrote slogans.
She would conjure up a handful of words for a brand to give it attitude.
Those words would stay there for years, sometimes ten, in one case forty.
These words would rarely be product based.
More often than not they had a kind of ‘fuck you’ flavour.
Take Dynel; a kind of synthetic fur like fabric.
Most rational people would position it as the inexpensive alternative to real fur.
That was far too mealy-mouthed and apologetic for Trahey Cadwell – ‘It’s not fake anything, it’s real Dynel.’ (You may as well put schmuck at the end of that sentence.)
Straight to the point, with attitude.
Considering she was a writer, it’s amazing to see consistently strong the art direction is over a thirty year period.
In the late sixties, former Haprer’s Bazaar Art Director Henry Wolf was bought in as a partner.
He shot and presumably art directed these Olivetti ads.
Through the seventies Trahey continued to battle anyone still against equal rights.
In ’72 she gets involved in he National Organisation of Women.
And starts writing ads.
One of her last, but most famous campaigns was for the Great Lakes Mink Association.
Realising that the name is too much of a mouthful she rechristened them ;’Blackglama’.
She then figured that because the lustre of black mink didn’t show up in photographs, she needed stars to give Blackgama lustre.
First she got Richard Avedon to shoot them.
Then she got stars.
And when I say stars I mean STARS.
Towards the end of her life Jane wrote and edited books.