Thursday, 14 January 2010

The Polarization of Lady Gaga

Back in her earlier days, Fashionista always craved a Polaroid camera. No matter that the images were pretty murky, smelt a bit and had a tendency to fade -- you could wait a minute and pull out an "instant" piccie, to the instant admiration and envy of your friends. Having been overtaken by the vicissitudes of technological evolution and two spells of bankruptcy, the brand is back, it seems. In "Polaroid's Comeback: Style Over Substance?", BrandChannel reports on good news from the brand's holding company -- a policy of vigorous (promiscuous?) licensing to the highest bidder in the electronics sector has hiked royalty by 50% over the past 12 months.
And now there's more to come. Fashion icon Lady GaGa has been engaged as the brand's creative director. While her role is said to be "not yet entirely clear", the company says that a branded line of Lady GaGa Polaroid devices "will hit retail shelves starting in late 2010". Says the article, Lady Gaga will give Polaroid great exposure, but it asks:
"isn't the brand more defined by the quality of the wide range of products it continues to license? Can a Lady GaGa costume cloak a brand with no real foundation, or is this just a good start?"
Says Fashionista, what's remarkable is the fact that the company is persisting in developing technology product areas such as instant photography, rather than pushing Polaroid as a fashion brand in the overcrowded garment and accessories markets -- where Lady GaGa's appeal might more obviously be deployed. It's even more surprising if you recall that Polaroid has enjoyed a successful life as an accessory brand, as evidenced by its Polarized shades. Perhaps there's more to this story than meets the eye, and uses of the Polaroid brand in different markets have been determined by men in grey suits in the corporate aftermath of the company's earlier financial problems. Modeliste is quite baffled by all this stuff about instant photography: almost every item in her handbag seems to take photos.