What does it mean when supermodels and celebrities are replaced in fashion ads by aging ex-presidents of former communist countries? Clearly something is up in the visual culture when the high-profile print campaign for Louis Vuitton features Mikhail Gorbachev, former head of the Soviet Union. As far as we can remember, the Soviets were never known for their extravagant love of luggage. (Except for all the old KGB agents, whose bags always had false bottoms to stow stolen nuclear secrets and radio-active poison pills. Hmmm…Gorby does look a little suspicious here.)
In the past, Vuitton has used imagery by the likes of Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott and featuring models like Eva Herzigova and celebrities like Jennifer Lopez and Scarlett Johansson. The new campaign, shot by Annie Leibovitz, features a number of celebrities, such as Andre Agassi and Catherine Deneuve, as well as Gorby. The campaign debuts in the September issue of fashion magazines.