Rosemary Mac Cabe

Hemlines, heels and haute couture – your daily dose

Whistles goes all Céline for S/S 2014

It may still be a high-street brand, but Whistles’ new campaign nods at the strides it’s making towards the high-fashion world

Fri, Jan 24, 2014, 12:30


High-street labels are usually fairly conservative when it comes to lookbooks – even when you count the shock tactics of brands such as French Connection. After all, they just want to get their clothes out there in a way that makes them easy for a prospective consumer to see and covet.

So Whistles‘ latest campaign, with its easy comparisons to Céline, use of black and white photography and Tyra’s favourite awkward angles, is another step towards high fashion for the brand, which, under the stewardship of Jane Shepherdson, has been firmly on the up-and-up – and is now a fairly regular fixture on the London Fashion Week schedule.

That the clothes aren’t necessarily centre stage isn’t bad news for Whistles, per se; they’re selling the brand now, rather than specific items, and these high-end photographs are a marker of Whistles’ ascent into the high-fashion sphere. (That’s not to say that I don’t have my eye on that silver backpack, top, or those ugly-pretty sandals, above.)

It’s interesting, too, to note the casual insouciance of many of the poses in the series – this rear-view snap, for example, is quite effective in the fact that you find yourself searching for eyes to lock on to where, obviously, there are none.

This is the only print in the lookbook (unless you count stripes), and all the more arresting – Whistles is definitely going for long-lasting classics over trendy, eyecatching prints, which is another brave move (although suggests to me that they’ll begin to hike their prices to mark their items out as investment pieces, rather than fast-fashion fixes).

The photographer in charge was Jamie Hawkesworth, with styling by Sara Moonves and art direction by Simmonds Ltd (I dream of one day working on a project that has budget for an art director).