Fashion advertising isn’t like regular advertising.
Attitude is as important as the ‘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 endless chemistry meetings every couple of years, but never 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 1950s New York, openly lesbian women didn’t start ad agencies, Vikings probably started more than lesbians in those years.
Their work was simple, stylish with a kind of sassy, New York attitude.
SWANSON’S ON THE PLAZA.
In 1959 she brings a partner to help manage the business, now growing fast. 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.
A great example of that flavour is Dynel work for a synthetic fur-like fabric.
Most rational people would position it as an inexpensive alternative to real fur.
That was far too mealy-mouthed and apologetic for Trahey Cadwell, they said ‘It’s not fake anything, it’s real Dynel’. (You may as well put ‘schmuck!’ at the end of that sentence.)
DYNEL FAKE HAIR.
Positioning the brand as kit you can wear when not exercising.
Straight to the point and 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.
Wolf shot and art directed these ads.
Through the seventies, Trahey continued to battle anyone still against equal rights.
In ’72 she gets involved in he National Organisation of Women.
Soon after she get’s her pen out.
One of her last, but most famous campaigns was for the Great Lakes Mink Association. Realising that the name was 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 went out and got some stars, and when I say stars, I mean STARS!, then she got Richard Avedon to shoot them.
Towards the end of her life, Jane wrote and edited books and films.