The cigarette is still one of fashion’s greatest loves and no wonder as Racked.com wittily notes: “The look of a cigarette - long, thin, white - dovetails with fashion’s other desired aesthetics pretty nicely.”
Vintage films and ads, French fashion magazines, film noir and Hollywood celebs have all contributed to that which we have always been brainwashed to believe: smoking is cool.
Used as props of seduction and defiance, cigarettes have been dubbed sexy, a symbol of power, a sign of rebellion and an indubitable maturity booster for teens.
Earlier this year ‘It’ girls Gigi and Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner posed in sexy lingerie for Love Magazine. But it was not the negligees that had people talking; instead it was the accessories used to bring the sultry black and white shoot together – cigarettes.
Smoking was also a crucial part of a recent campaign Bella Hadid did for clothing brand Chrome Hearts – the brand posted a clip on Instagram showing the model seductively sucking on a thin white one while posing.
Also, Kylie Jenner opted for this image as part of her new brand promotion:
Then let’s talk about the 2017 Met Gala – which is basically the fashion Oscars. Articles and tweets were dedicated to what went down in the Met’s bathroom. The real party was there, everyone proclaimed.
Celebrities and designers were sharing social media footage of hordes of famous faces hot boxing the space as they smoked in couture.
People will probably never stop smoking and of course we can't expect celebrities not to. But, as Harper’s Bazaar argues, it’s about what’s seen and not seen. Those with massive influence should consider this before lighting up on social media (and in campaigns and fashion editorials for that matter), about the image they are peddling to their audience.
Even in a fashion shoot, Bella Hadid or Kendall Jenner are first and foremost seen as celebs, rather than just the model in that Givenchy ad.
It sucks for them in a way, but they have a responsibility not to glamourise destructive habits.
The Guardian reports that Harriet Quick, fashion features director at Vogue says "Oh, it's just fashion. Fashion loves to do this, to provoke. It's not really saying anything. But, yes, there's something about smoking which works wonderfully well on the screen or the photo. It fills the screen, gives impact. Just doesn't work that well in real life."
It is saying something and has been saying so for so very long. It’s saying: buy into this ‘lifestyle’. You know you want to be just as cool as me.
But as Harper’s Bazaar says “what these influencers don't realize—or perhaps they just don’t care?—is that they are peddling the idea that smoking is glamorous to an audience who cares deeply about image.”
So it's a definite concern, in a world where image is perceived to be everything, where young celebs and influencers like the Hadids are the image impressionable teens look up to and aspire so desperately to be, that the fashion world continues to glamorise smoking.
Destroying oneself for a taste of fame is, unfortunately, nothing new.