You Know Dressbarn? Well, It Just Got A Patrick Demarchelier Makeover

Photo: Courtesy of Dressbarn.
You might not expect a mall (and strip mall) stalwart that caters to fortysomething women to get super-cheeky, but that's exactly what Dressbarn has done for its new campaign. Riffing on the brand's name, a couple of barnyard animals make cameos in the fall ads, shot alongside model Hilary Rhoda. Even more startling than putting a small petting zoo's worth of creatures in the campaign? The photographer responsible for the images is fashion favorite Patrick Demarchelier. (An old editorial, lensed by Demarchelier, of a model standing with a bull actually inspired the Dressbarn shoot.)

A stylish, perhaps surprising new look is often how mom-ish brands try grabbing more youthful customers, but that's not the case here. "I wouldn't say we're trying to court a younger customer. We've always known who our customer is: She's a 40-ish woman," Lori Wagner, Dressbarn's chief marketing officer and executive vice president of e-commerce, told Refinery29. "With the democratization of fashion, there are so many options for millennials and Gen-Xers. But that's not the case when you enter the 35-to-45-year-old range: Where do those customers find great, relevant, appropriate fashion for a great price?"
Photo: Courtesy of Dressbarn.
The 53-year-old retailer has been trying to becoming more relevant in the fashion world for the past two years via designer collaborations, an overhaul of the look of its stores, and the launch of a pop-up shop earlier this year — called Dressbar — to bring in a more stylish crowd. Oh, and the clothes are changing, too. "Most importantly, you're going to see the product evolve," Wagner says of the refresh. "It's been a tremendously successful business, and now we want to be a tremendously successful brand."

One thing that isn't getting any work done on it is the name. "At one point, we discussed if we should change the name, but honestly, after a lot of research, we realized the name wasn't holding us back at all," Wagner says. "We thought, why not just have some fun with it and really own it?"

Other somewhat similar brands that have dabbled in makeovers include Ann Taylor, which adopted a hipper look and cooler campaign stars, like Kate Hudson, to shed its frumpy cubicle-wear rep with a revamp in 2010. Talbots also tested out the illustrious-photographer-plus-noteworthy-campaign-star equation to revitalize its image. (It didn't quite work.)

Putting a pig, Patrick Demarchelier, and Dressbarn in the same sentence (and photo shoot) is certainly one way to grab attention. Check out this behind-the-scenes video to get more acquainted with the farm-to-fashion campaign stars. Demarchelier's shots are gorgeous, and Rhoda looks great, but the real stars here are Zoom the rooster and Winnie the goat, in our opinion.

More from Stores

The term "lady" certainly feels pretty antiquated. But in H&M's latest campaign commercial, the dated word gets a cool, thoroughly modern ...
J.Crew doesn't have the over-the-top quality of some other shows (or, as fashion critic Vanessa Friedman recently called them, "hashtag hoo-has") such as ...
Here’s a sentence my teenage self never thought she’d write: Lane Bryant is seriously killing the plus game. Besides an overall aesthetic shift from “stuff...
Lane Bryant's latest campaign is evidently not suitable for national network TV audiences: Its 30-second spot was banned by ABC and NBC. Featuring plus-...
If you had any lingering doubt that fashion is all about nostalgia, just take a look at Opening Ceremony's new arrivals: Humberto Leon and Carol Lim keep ...
We should probably employ a "believe it or not" clause around all of the epic tales we heard while on our exclusive tour of Cartier's newly renovated ...
When I saw Ashley Nell Tipton on Project Runway, I knew that a sea change had just occurred. It was thrilling to watch her tackle challenge after challenge...
After last month's productive spring-cleaning binge, we imagine your closet's looking a little sparse these days. With all of that freed-up space, the ...
H&M is on a quest for ambitious, innovative green ideas that could change the fashion biz. The Swedish retailer's non-profit arm, H&M Foundation...
Another day, another independent artist calling out fast fashion for ripping off work. Let's get right to it: Azerbaijani artist Faig Ahmed, who is known ...
If you've been a fan of R29's for years, you'll know we have a soft spot in our hearts for J.Crew. Its new arrivals always seem to address exactly what our...
A new book, set to be released in Sweden next week, asserts that the factories in Myanmar under contract with H&M hired employees as young as 14 and ...
Update: H&M just released a second look at its upcoming collaboration with Kenzo — one that teases a very different direction for a fast-fashion ...
Just a few weeks after people rallied behind artist Tuesday Bassen following allegations that Zara copied her original illustrations on numerous ...