Phi F/W 08.09 : Coco Rocha and Karen Elson by Steven Meisel
Since Susan Dell formed Phi in 2003, the fashion label has been quietly fine-tuning its DNA as a distinctly modernist, urban collection with innovative structural details.
After a rocky start, which had Andreas Melbostad replace Tim Gardner at the creative helm at launch time in 2004, and several seasons in which the brand has been largely under the fashion radar, at least Stateside, Phi executives now feel the time is right to bring their message to a wider audience. This fall, the brand will unveil its first print ad campaign, shot by Steven Meisel.
Meisel photographed the ads, which were styled by Marie-Amelie Sauve and art-directed by Ronnie Cooke Newhouse. The campaign features six images of Karen Elson and Coco Rocha posing as modern-day Vargas girls against a crisp white background. Considering Phi's urban edge, the images have a surprisingly humorous bent — a deliberate move, Melbostad said, to show the collection also has a light touch.
"The creative brief was to push the brand image of the ad campaign to the limit, to be arresting," Hansen said.
The campaign breaks in Vogue this August, with additional placements following in W; the fashion issue of T: The New York Times Magazine; Vanity Fair; French, Russian, Japanese and British Vogues; ID and Pop magazines, and a possible placement in the International Herald Tribune during the collections season.
"When you put together the runway imagery, the image set forth by the store and the ads, it rounds out the thoughts we put into the collection," Melbostad said.