What is it that turns a deadly, addictive and expensive habit into a fashion accessory? It’s a question of chic, says Miranda France.

In the invidious world of advertising, sex can be relied upon to sell just about anything, from cars to chocolate to double glazing. Most notorious, perhaps, is the argument that sex sells cigarettes.

In Britain, tobacco companies would be justified in saying that the link is tenuous: most oftheir advertisements are glossy. complex, but clean. They rely upon suggestion, rather than the glitzy filmstar endorsements of yesteryear when a cheery Ronald Reagan put his name to Chesterfield. These days celebrities want no part in promoting smoking and human beings of any kind are playing an altogether smaller role in tobacco advertising. Even the Marlboro man seems to be on his way out.

But smoking has one, loyal ally: fashion. We’re all familiar with the images‘ the gorgeous, pouting model, dressed to kill, with cigarette dangling from kissable lips. Small wonder, say anti-smoking pressure groups like ASH, that while smoking is on the wane among most social and age groups, the habit is increasing among teenage girls and young women.

What is it that turns an addictive. expensive. ultimately fatal stick of tobacco into a fashion accessory? A forthcoming exhibition at the French Institute in Edinburgh puts the answer in a nutshell. The show features 50 original works by some of the world‘s finest contemporary photographers, all ofwhom were invited by the French tobacco company, SEITA, to produce a work inspired by the famous gypsy silhouette that appears on packets of Gitanes. This is the second ' such exhibition organised by SEITA around their " logo‘ the same invitation was extended to

contemporary painters in 1989 which was ~ ~ originally coined in the 19505 by Max Ponty. Submisslons by Herb Bltts, Je n-Marc Sclalom and Francoise The array of works IS Visually stunning. In Huoulen women photographers used their lemale models lar less provocatively

particular, the surrealist works of Nitin in which a the ‘gitanc’ becomes a woman, buxom, feline, a

O . _ advertisement, but the end result is the same: an female bather wearing a cap With the Gztanes logo {empiress

urge to buy Gimmes and, implicitly, the chic that

l appears to dive through a luminous hOOP and Seductive and beautiful as they are, these images goes with it, Ollka LCIC SOIHCWhCTC between Dali aIId Man say something disturbing about our relationship At any rate the show is timely France has now RQY caPtPTC the imagination Jean Marc With IObaCCO and indeed about the Way in WhiCh decided to ban all tobacco advertising except at the Selalom‘s Image» in WhiCh the gypsy 011mm: iS we use women‘s bodies in advertising. The very point ofsale and next month the rest of Euro e drawn on the “00” marking the 5pm Of a few Women Photographers inC'Uded in the Show considers following suit There can be no morep murderee, is a Witty response to detective thrillers. use their female models far less provocative]y_ pertinent time to see what is undeniably a In some other images, the silhouette is projected Otherwise, it seems to me that many of the provocative but nonetheless aesthetic Show onto something, We“ as a naked woman’s bOdyv 0' PiCtUTCS set out to seduce me": Who find the After all pictures like these might soon be ille al appears as a tiny detail, like a tattoo on a man’s women desirable. and women. who aspire to their Gitanes is at the French Institute from Wed 13 15a . arm. In most of the pictures the logo is made flesh: beauty. This may not officially be an “muzojune y


The List 8—21 May 199253