What's with department stores and their hippy-dippy campaigns?

Posted on Thu May 14 2009

Macys

Why are department stores so fixated on hippie nostalgia? First, Barneys dipped its toe in the acid-tinged waters with its "Peace and Love" Christmas campaign. Now, Macy's is pushing the "Summer of Love" with newspaper ads showing similarly hippiefied young women. How did this come about? Let's consult Macy's East fashion director Nicole Fischells, who describes the genesis of the line on the company's Web site thusly: "The daughter of a rock icon and a fairy, tough and ethereal meet to evoke the spirit of enchantment this spring. ... The free-spirited attitude illustrates a fairy tale story filled with light and airy textiles, and washed and distressed tones. Bright touches mixed with pales, ranging from caramel cream and subtle lemon grass yellow, to hints of dusty smoke grey, and sea fog purple, whisper their heady melody." Hmm. Sounds like someone's been hitting the lemon grass indeed.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Barneys New York sending you best wishes for a hippie holiday

Posted on Wed Dec 17 2008

Barneys copy

Peace, love and ... Barneys? The upscale Manhattan apparel retailer isn't the first brand you'd associate with the acid-tinged late '60s, but perhaps it's you who needs to get with the times, man.
  A recent full-page ad in The New York Times, for instance, has no middle-aged suited executive types whatsoever—just a naked hippie chick in the woods clutching some peace-symbol-laden handbags. The headline: "Peace & love and bohemian gifts." To cap it off, the "o" in "Barneys New York" is also a peace sign. See the full ad here. Has someone spiked the martinis at Barneys HQ with LSD?
  Actually, this is the official theme of this year's holiday campaign, says Dawn Brown, a Barneys rep. (Last year's equally unexpected theme: the environment.) Brown says the new work, done in-house, is meant to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the peace symbol (which, interestingly enough, combines the semaphoric signals for the letters "n" and "d," as in "nuclear disarmament"). The other impetus, she says, was the 40th anniversary of the Summer of Love. In fact, most peg that summer as 1967. "Some say it was 1968," says Brown. "Some even say it was 1969."
  Either way, it doesn't have much to do with Christmas.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman


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