There as never been a more important time to share the remarkable work of female role models than now and what better way to do this than by using fashion as your secret weapon? This must have been the mode of thinking for Miami-based designer/illustrator Elisa Rodríguez-Vila, who has taken the world’s most influential designer fashion campaigns and re imagined them by incorporating ‘real life super women’.
The inspiration behind this shoot lies with the latest Céline campaign, which has uniquely incorporated 80 year-old writer Joan Didion, looking super-chic I might add, in her huge iconic sunglasses. Of her muse, Elisa stated that this campaign had reinvigorated her perspective and inspired her to adapt the strong influence that alternative role models still have. Well, there’s a compliment and a half – having an entire project shaped around you – but rightly so in our opinion.
Designers, stylists and modeling agencies in NYC (and all across the country) will no doubt be raving about this shoot but one might expect that it came with a certain amount of risk for Elisa Rodríguez-Vila. But apparently not. When asked about the campaign Elisa stated:
‘The crazy idea of casting women who don’t fit the supermodel mould – yet are super heroes in real life – is actually not that crazy at all (…) Choosing these women wouldn’t be a risk, it would be a sure-fire hit.’ (Elisa Rodríguez-Vila – Fuse – February 2015)
In the first of the images we see Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg representing Chanel, much in the style of a modern-day Mona Lisa. The black and white aesthetic combined with Ruth’s intense stare absolutely takes your breath away and will no doubt have impressed even the master himself Karl Lagerfeld.
Next up Elisa chose LGBT activist Laverne Coz (whom you will probably recognize from Orange is the New Black) to insert the bolder, more colourful approach that you’d typically expect from a Versace campaign, which sees her sitting on a brightly colored bed staring intently into the lens of the camera.
Another exciting addition to Rodríguez-Vila’s project was feminist Gloria Steinem for Chloé which, in a similar strain to Bader Ginsburg, perfectly encapsulated the intensity of the woman combined with the power of the brand. Other inspirational women recruited for the project included writer Roxane Gay, Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, Mo’Ne Davis for Céline and transgender rights activist Janet Mock for Calvin Klein.
So it would seem that success, determination and inspiration are the new cool attributes for women to embody and what a fantastic message that is, to be putting out there. We can only hope that other photographers and innovators follow suit so that we can see more of the inspirational women that have helped to shape our generation.