Known for their powerful, boundary-pushing lingerie campaigns - search #LonelyGirlsProject for endless scrolls of confident, beautiful women of all shapes and sizes all over the world or last year's campaign featuring trans model Aurel Haize Odogbo and feminist artist Petra Collins - cult New Zealand label Lonely have once again made a powerful, positive statement (and international headlines in the process) with their AW17 campaign star and muse, 57 year old Mercy Brewer.
In a press release from the brand, Brewer describes, "Perceptions of beauty have and always will change, therefore I think we can conclude its standard is not set in stone, and new beauty is always waiting to be discovered. I believe we are in a moment in time where older women's beauty has been a startling revelation. If we don't recognize it, we, every one of us, deny ourselves a future to look forward to."
The completely unretouched shoot (unheard of in our digital, Insta-filtered age) was shot by Harry Were at one of New Zealand's historical homesteads.
Here, co-founders Helene Morris and Steve Ferguson discuss the powerful creative choices they made for the A/W'17 campaign.
Buro: How did you wind up working with Mercy Brewer for the shoot?
Lonely: When we were looking for models who could broaden our definition of diversity we came across a televised interview of Mercy talking about her modelling career. Her humour, confidence, brutal honesty and healthy dose of non conforming attitude felt so authentic, it captivated us. It was these inner qualities that are so aligned to the spirit of Lonely, that drew Mercy to us.
What makes Mercy a Lonely girl?
She has had such a rich and interesting life, from being a punk in her youth, to modelling alongside Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell in the 90's, to emigrating to New Zealand to embark on a different way of life. She has not been afraid to challenge norms, is confident and independent. She is also very open minded and non conforming in her beliefs which makes her a perfect fit with Lonely and our embodiment of a Lonely girl.
You are always pushing the boundaries of conventional beauty and sensuality in campaigns, why is this so important to the brand and so intrinsic?
Its important for people to see there is another way, outside of society convention, free from judgement and boundaries. We love to challenge and are not afraid to challenge the status Quo. Our authenticity is based on our company values which are determined by the attitudes and beliefs of everyone on the Lonely team.
In your opinion, what makes Mercy sexy?
We have always had an aversion to the word "sexy" as we have associated it with traditional lingerie advertising imagery featuring women in highly sexualised poses, highly photoshopped, heavily made up, with very little diversity in age, body shape or skin colour. This kind of imagery is so unnatural and unsexy to us at Lonely.
We wanted to challenge the traditional stereotype of what this can look like. Being comfortable in our own skin, not needing makeup to feel beautiful, being relaxed and comfortable, wearing lingerie to make ourselves feel good first and foremost, these things are all sexy to us. We are most beautiful (and sexy) when we celebrate our differences, are comfortable with our imperfections and have the confidence to be ourselves. Mercy embodies our values and beliefs so perfectly and is such a beautiful, inspiring women both inside and out.
For more, visit Lonely.