Fashion and the tobacco industry have a long and intertwined history. Dated images of fashion models smoking while looking impossibly glamorous seem clichéd and old fashioned. Now, smoking is more a symbol of addiction, death, and corporate manipulation – no longer is smoking shorthand for rebellion, coolness and aspiration.
But, that didn’t stop celebrities attending the biggest and most celebrated fashion event of the year, the MET gala, from trying to resurrect smoking’s tarnished image. The event, held in New York as a fundraiser for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, receives global media coverage with lead stories in the news, gossip, fashion, and lifestyle pages. It also spawns thousands of social media posts highlighting both the celebrities in attendance and their avant-garde fashion choices.
For example, the American fashion designer, Marc Jacobs, posted an image of himself smoking during the event in the “girls room” with celebrities Courtney Love (herself a paid spokesperson for NJOY e-cigarettes) and her daughter Frances Bean. The Marlboro cigarette packet can be clearly seen in Mr Jacobs’ hand. Associating the Marlboro brand with exclusivity, celebrity, fashion, and rebellion – smoking is illegal inside public buildings in New York.
No doubt Philip Morris is pleased to see its brand being held up as a fashion accessory. It sure beats being known for killing 2 out 3 of your best customers.