Mikhail Gorbachev advertises Louis Vuitton bags to make his living

So many fashion ads feature celebrities now that it isn’t even faintly jarring to flip through the August issue of Vogue and see Scarlett Johansson lying on her belly with a Louis Vuitton bag over her shoulder and 10 pages later find her flat on her back, her cascading blond hair spread to promote L’Oreal Superior Preference shade No. 10NB.

That said, what is a reader to make of a Vuitton ad, coming in the big September books, that stars Mikhail S. Gorbachev, the last president of the Soviet Union? A decade ago, Mr. Gorbachev’s appearance in a Pizza Hut commercial was generally greeted as a low point in his career.

The Vuitton ad, however, is part of a campaign to emphasize the company’s heritage in luggage and travel accessories. Photographed by Annie Leibovitz, the ads include other celebrities using Vuitton bags: Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf cuddling in a hotel room, their bags not yet unpacked; Catherine Deneuve resting on a trunk in front of a steaming locomotive; and Mr. Gorbachev in the back of a car with a duffel bag on the seat next to him. Of the group, Mr. Gorbachev appears the least comfortable. He is holding on to a door handle, as if the bag contained polonium 210.

It seems unlikely he will be approached by L’Oreal.

THE August issue of Harper’s Bazaar, meanwhile, includes fashion illustrations by Julius Preite of “The Simpsons,” with a cartoon version of Glenda Bailey, the editor, in place of her usual portrait. And now on Style.com, it is Candy Pratts Price, the site’s executive fashion director, who appears more animated than usual.

In a feature called “CandyCast,” Ms. Price will dispense thoughts on fashion in the form of an avatar, illustrated by Bruno Frisoni, the creative director of Roger Vivier. She looks skinnier than a paper clip, the New York Times reports.

“Take a look at gray!” she says in the first installment, which sounds a tad like a spoof of Diana Vreeland. “Always chic, always right, and always, always mandatory!”

Ms. Price said she hopes to convey a lighter tone in the future.

“It will definitely be related to fashion, because that is what I do for a living,” she said. “I am not a doctor.”

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12/2008 02/2009


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