Monday, October 22, 2007

Lord & Taylor's Lily White World

Posted from my mobile phone

Every train station in New York is currently plastered with billboards for Lord & Taylor's fall campaign. The scenes are very Ralph Lauren - shot on the lawn of an elegant, imposing country estate, selling a nostalgic, British-accented, invitation-only world. Though this kind of tailored clothing is not my thing, I can appreciate the powerful art direction of the campaign. They are effectively marketing a lifestyle, not just selling another tweed jacket with a velvet collar.

What is shocking, however, is that there is not a single non-white person in any of the ads. In fact, not only is everybody white, they're all Northern European and fair-skinned. I've just walked the length of the platform, scrutinizing all 8 scenes, certain that I'd eventually come across a suitably snooty, long-necked, stunningly beautiful equestrienne of African-American descent...or a Latino rugby player handsome enough to rival Reynaldo...but no. Nada.

Who exactly do the geniuses at Lord & Taylor think lives in New York? Have they paid any attention to the list of young, affluent, minority professionals who contributed the initial cash that jump-started Barack Obama's campaign and vaulted him into the position of being a credible, national contender? For goodness sake - look at the cover of Oprah's "O" magazine. She's living the landed gentry lifestyle that they're simulating in their ads.

These billboards reek of nostalgia for the days when the "club" was exclusively White. They are an insult to everyone who lives in our rich, diverse city. I'm disgusted.

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