The last 2 fiascos on the fashion industry are seriously compromising its sanity and liability: the Ann-Taylor Agency photoshop massacre and the MAC-Rodarte ignorance. Seems like the world of fashion is going through a tuff period or is it?

Recently Ann Taylor Model Agency decided to add some dynamics to its website and implemented roll over behaviors on the models’ pictures: when the mouse rolled through the pictures they would change and show the original picture without photoshop retouching. Very neat, cool feature to implement on the website if it weren’t for the massive deformation of the models’ photographs. What Ann Taylor Agency did was basically publish to the world their poor photoshop retouching expertise and their lack of respect for the female body. The proportions you see in the pictures are utterly impossible and transform those beautiful female bodies into Escher‘s mazes! Many famous fashion designers and collections had their catalogs’ photos taken and edited by Ann Taylor‘s photoshop retouching masters, including the Ralph Loren catalog cover that as you can see is perfectly natural and humanly possible.

The second fiasco, also very recent, involves MAC-Rodarte from the Mulleavy sisters, two young successful fashion designers a little too eager to reach the top and make their statement. MAC and Rodarte gathered to launch a new make-up and clothing collection inspired and named after the border city of Juárez, Mexico. Nicole Phelps from style.com commented about the Rodarte Fall/Winter 2010 collection “[T]hey became interested in the troubled border town of Ciudad Juárez the hazy, dreamlike quality of the landscape there and the maquiladora workers going to the factory in the middle of the night“. Lovely you would say… Well the thing is that Juárez is known for being one of the most dangerous cities in the whole world: more than 500 women have been murdered in the Mexican border city of Juárez since 1993 and 1,500 people were killed so far this year and 5,700 since 2008, largely a result of the drug war. The result of this “dreamlike” collection was a tasteless, twisted paraphernalia of Juárez eye-shadow, lip gloss, nail polish and clothing that suggest carnage, blood in the desert, blood of abducted, raped, strangled women…

Driven by the thirst of fame or not, the Mulleavy sisters might have ruined a big part of their credibility due to this tasteless and unthinkable make-up and clothing collection.

My question is… both of these failures were they caused by fashion’s twisted mind or by a major lack of wisdom from the PR professionals that work on both of these companies?

Although I think fashion is growing dangerously extreme, I think this shows the incompetence and lack of knowledge of Ann Taylor‘s and Rodarte‘s public relations offices. The website content has to go through the PR professionals (or at least they should) how could a communication expert let anyone publish the “un-retouched” photographs from the models? It’s the same as stating “Hey! Behold the respect and love we have for human female bodies… not”! Same situation goes for the MAC-Rodarte fiasco: PR experts are supposed to be the right hand of the CEO, giving advice on the collections and how should they be launched. Of course good PR professionals know their history and have a wide cultural overview, predicting all potential cultural, historical, political, philosophical offenses and advising their clients according to this knowledge… not what happened with the eager Mulleavy sisters.

So… if you’re a business owner, be careful with whom you hire as your PR expert for they might lead your business to success or drown your business in shame…

Related Coffee Cups:

MAC and Rodarte Press Releases

More Ann Taylor’s Models with ridiculous proportions

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