Hello spaceboy – Buzz Aldrin and fashion’s other models of substance

buzz-aldrin on the catwalk

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Hello spaceboy – Buzz Aldrin and fashion’s other models of substance” was written by Emine Saner, for The Guardian on Wednesday 1st February 2017 16.21 UTC

Going where no man should probably go again, legendary astronaut Buzz Aldrin modelled a silver jacket and silver trainers – to match his silvery beard and hair – in a catwalk show on Monday for the fashion designer Nick Graham. “I’ve walked on the moon, so how hard can it be to walk in a fashion show,” said Aldrin, whose jacket was emblazoned with a badge reading Get Your Ass To Mars. Fashion designers have long known that getting a celebrity to model for you is a shortcut to lots of press, but the trend for models of substance, rather than just style (not to mention advanced years), is welcome. Here are some other unlikely models:

Joan Didion
Joan Didion in Céline’s spring/summer 2015 campaign.

Joan Didion

Céline scored a ton of glowing press after revealing one of its models for its spring/summer 2015 campaign was all-round titan of literature Joan Didion. How wonderful that not only age (Didion was 80 at the time) but intellect was celebrated in Juergen Teller’s portrait of the writer, a barest glint of her penetrating gaze glimpsed beneath giant sunglasses. It wasn’t her first ad campaign though – she appeared in a Gap ad in 1989.

Mikhail Gorbachev

In 2007, Mikhail Gorbachev, the final leader of Soviet Union, appeared in an advertising campaign for Louis Vuitton. He was pictured in the back of a limo as it passed a bit of the Berlin Wall, with one of the company’s famous monogrammed bags beside him (tantalisingly, it emerged that the magazine seen poking out of the bag made a reference to the murder of former FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko). It seems improbable, but then that’s only because you have erased the memory of his previous ad campaign outing – for Pizza Hut 10 years earlier. Being shot by Annie Leibovitz for Vuitton was a step up at least.

Mikhail Gorbachev in a 2007 ad for Louis Vuitton
Mikhail Gorbachev in a 2007 ad for Louis Vuitton. Photograph: Louis Vuitton

Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Gary Oldman and Tim Roth

At the Prada menswear autumn/winter 2012 show, the actors went out looking like cast members from a Downton Abbey-Reservoir Dogs reboot. Tim Roth grinned a bit – half-delighted, half-a-bit-sheepish – but the others stayed in imperious character.

Neil Young

There was a bit of fuss when anti-consumerist folk hero Neil Young appeared in adverts for cult skatewear brand Supreme in 2015, photographed by notorious creep Terry Richardson. Previous models have included Mike Tyson and Lou Reed. It wasn’t the T-shirts, featuring a shot of Young wearing a T-shirt, that appeared most desirable though – the advertising posters were being stripped off walls and sold on eBay for up to $450 (£360).

Doreen Lawrence and others appeared in a 2014 campaign for M&S alongside pro model Alek Wek
Doreen Lawrence and others appeared in a 2014 campaign for M&S alongside pro model Alek Wek. Photograph: Marks & Spencer

Tracey Emin and Doreen Lawrence

For a couple of years Marks & Spencer put out some really inspiring advertising. In 2013, Tracey Emin and Monica Ali appeared alongside less unusual choices, such as model Karen Elson and fashion editor Grace Coddington, in its ad campaign. The following year, campaigner and member of the House of Lords Doreen Lawrence modelled alongside Emma Thompson, Annie Lennox and pro Alek Wek.

Patti Smith

The singer has been muse to Belgian designer Ann Demeulemeester for decades. First it was from afar – Demeulemeester has recalled how, as a teenager, she became obsessed with Smith’s look on the cover of her 1975 album Horses. Later, they became friends when the designer sent Smith some shirts; Smith has called the designer’s clothes “talismanic”, and says she never goes onstage without wearing a piece by her friend. Smith appeared in Demeulemeester’s autumn/winter 2006 catwalk show, though – subversive as ever – it was the designer’s menswear collection.

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