Casting a knock-kneed teenager for a luxury designer's ad campaign is par for the course at this point, but when the ingenue in question has as much moxie, talent, and potential as Marc Jacobs' newest muse, Willow Smith, it's hardly (fashion) business as usual.
Yes, the 15 year old one-time face of the Free The Nipple campaign is now fronting the famed American fashion label's Fall 2015 ad campaign alongside musical legend Cher.
Taking to Instagram to announce the collaboration, the ever-effusive designer sung Willow's praises, claiming the "talented, stylish, and charming" singer was joining a "diverse and exceptional group of talented friends and individuals" who have fronted Jacobs line in the past. Jacobs has formerly employed Miley Cyrus, Sofia Coppola, Dakota Fanning, Kate Moss, and Victoria Beckham, and now Willow is a part of a mötley crüe of frontwomen for the brand, who while wildly successful and influential in fashion, were initially considered a risk in the industry.
Though Willow may have confused the public in her and her brother Jaden's meandering New York Times article last fall — where the discussion of "prana energy" and time continuum overshadowed Willow's very obvious songwriting talent and smooth vocals — Jacobs' decision to include Willow in the label's campaign speaks to her imminent rise in the musical world.
Jacobs has a knack for aligning himself with emerging talent. His selection of Victoria Beckham for his 2008 campaign, where the then-polarizing fashionplate was seen falling out of a ginormous Marc Jacobs shopping bag in a state of undress, was considered a woeful mistake. Of course, Beckham would go on to experience considerable success and fame in the fashion industry with her own label, the one-time pop star and original W.A.G. being awarded the Brand of the Year at last year's BFA awards.
And of course, there was Jacobs' Spring 2014 twerking rabblerouser of a spokeswoman, Miley Cyrus, whose extreme antics had completely polarized Jacobs' in-house photographer, Juergen Teller, who refused to shoot her for the campaign. Miley has evolved into a fashion influencer, repping Alexander Wang at last month's Met Gala and collaborating with Jeremy Scott last fall.
It's that type of rebelliousness that clearly motivates Jacobs' casting decisions, with him rounding up a large cadre of rulebreakers to front his label. Whether Willow will become a household name after this campaign is published has yet to be determined, but the at-times indecipherable hippie — with considerable vocal chops akin to a young Erykah Badu or Lauryn Hill — seems to at least have everyone's attention.
Marjon Carlos is a style and culture writer for Fusion who boasts a strong turtleneck game and opinions on the subjects of fashion, gender, race, pop culture, and men's footwear.