Friday, November 13, 2009

'Til Death Do Us Part

" Is it a luxury to enjoy tomorrow's heirlooms today?

Genius design doesn't fall out of fashion. Fabulous is always in style. So love these treasures now and pass them on later. They're meant to be part of your life FOREVER."

This is part of Nordstrom's current advertising campaign for handbags and jewelry and other boring stuff. I flipped through a catalog that arrived at my work, and then reached this tagline. FOREVER, eh?

Pick out your open-casket accoutrements now! Be part of the brand that will litigate your will. Put on the necklace that whispers, ever-so-softly: "You can pry this out of my cold, dead hand."

Creepy, but it only gets more so with the next brand invocation:

"Is it a luxury to choose only what you love?

You know it when you see it: that perfect be-all, end-all piece that instantly feels like an extension of yourself - and gives you a secret thrill every time you wear it. It becomes your signature, your CONSTANT COMPANION."

Yep. Your CONSTANT COMPANION (by the way, these majuscules are all Nordstrom's, not mine).

Carry the bag that declares: I bought this stalker for $500. Cuddle your bracelet. Wear this coat around until it knows all your peccadilloes and sweat trickles and body crevices. Maybe wash it sometimes...

...but only if you can bear to take it off.

So, obviously it's old news that brands try to identify with women and convince them that they must own certain things in order to define themselves through the act of self-presentation. Things we buy are so us as to be an "extension"of us. How many "must-own" and "must-buys" flood the marketplace every day? I remember being much younger and believing that owning a little black dress was quintessential to sophisticated womanhood. Naturally, I was being urged to purchase said dress.

This specific ad, however, just seems so ridiculously over-the-top, what with all its creepy soulmate/graveyard lingo. The design of the catalog features fifties-style mannequins lounging-- red-lipped--in opulent jewelry, and I'm sure this throw-back to a previous fashion era is intentional: it calls to mind heirlooms we have ourselves inherited from the women of our family. Women pass on china and jewelry and doll collections, or at least they do in my family. That's part of our generational train of connection.

Doesn't it seem weird, however, to be urged to buy things that will make pretty gifts to our daughters when we are dead? Or to choose a product that's so "us," it has to be worn constantly (at least until the secret thrill is

If you look at the picture above, a bag provides the only covering for the model.

My brand, my identity.

1 comment:

  1. In order to live a happy and full life, I require only two things:

    1) To fit inside my handbag

    2) To possess a handbag large enough for me to fit inside

    Nordstrom, you complete me!