I wanted to write about the new Pamela Anderson for Missguided campaign because I think it's one of the most evocative, exciting and downright genius partnerships I've seen in a long time.
Shot by photographer and artist, Arvida Byström, (jealous much), the images are sexy, bold, kistch, fun, saturated, tongue-in-cheek and celebratory. As is, the collection of clothing itself. Best of all, there’s a Baywatch homage in the form of a high leg, red swimsuit. It might be Pam’s collection, but the swimsuit’s got my name on it.
However, the quality of the images aren't the only reason I think this collaboration is so smart and important. Firstly, we are in the throes of a passionate love affair with all things 90’s, at least sartorially speaking. The definitive piece, the slip dress, was seen at Peter Pilotto, Topshop Unique, and Mulberry at LFW AW16. Pamela Anderson is the 90’s poster girl for the term b-a-b-e. Pneumatic and blonde, Pammy as CJ Parker is what Baywatch (one of the most watched tv shows in the world, grossing over $1.5 billion) was really all about. David Hasselhoff was comparatively, Sideshow Mel (not even Bob). Yes, there are some that will criticise the ideal of beauty being defined as someone who famously increased her breast size and appeared in Playboy 13 times. And yes, it sends a damaging message if a slim, blonde, white woman who has undergone augmentative surgery and appears naked in (what was then) a pornographic magazine is the only definition of beauty. And for a long time, that is what the media defined beauty as. But that’s not Pamela’s fault and no woman should be criticised for her deeply personal choices. But I digress, this isn’t a discussion about ideals of beauty and the media’s portrayal of women.
So Pammy equals 90's knockout equals bang on trend equals first smart decision.
Secondly, Missguided’s ‘girl’ (the term used to define a brand’s customer) is fun, bold, glamorous and confident. Pammy is a perfect embodiment of these attributes, which Missguided has cleverly termed ‘Pam glam’. However at 48 years old, Pamela is not Missguided’s target ‘girl’ of 16-30. To have a woman 20 years older than your target market fronting your campaign should be applauded. We all know that visibility of women in the media falls dramatically once they are over the age of 40. This campaign shows a younger generation, and the wider world, that youth isn’t everything, you don’t become invisible once you reach 40, you’re still interested in fashion, you’re still hot AF, and you might even have something the younger generation can learn from.
Which, indeed they can. Pamela is a vocal animal rights campaigner. As an active member of PETA, she has mobilised many campaigns against the use of fur and cruelty towards animals. She was a spokesperson for the MAC AIDS fund in 2005, which helped people with AIDS and HIV. She is politically engaged, writing an open letter to Vladimir Putin asking him to block the passage of whale meat through Russian waters to Japan and a letter to Barack Obama about the legalisation of cannabis. In 2014, she spoke publicly about the sexual abuse she suffered from the age of 6. I can’t think of anything harder, braver or more important.
Pammy is an ambitious, successful woman who has used her fame to publicise causes she feels strongly about. I think she’s a terrific role model for Missguided customers because she projects an image of what they can become rather than what they can be. Missguided has shown us all that using models over the age of 25 is hugely advantageous and I certainly hope that other brands will take their cue.
She may not be Missguided’s 'girl' but Pamela Anderson sure as hell is their woman.