Oh the irony! Joan Didion is announced as the face of Céline as Justin Bieber goes shirtless for Calvin Klein

Joan Didion Celine Justin Bieber Calvin Klein

Joan Didion Celine Justin Bieber Calvin Klein

Yesterday, the fashion world gave us a gift: writer Joan Didion as the face Céline’s Spring 2015 collection.

Correct: in a world overrun by thirst, seemingly ageless models and celebrities, and—we’ll get there in a second—troubled pop stars, the French label forewent temptation to pull a cliched PR move and instead appointed an 80-year-old literary mastermind as its seasonal Cool Girl.

Which is perfect for no less than six million reasons. First, photographed by Juergen Teller, Didion—in her minimalist black top and oversized sunglasses—looks just as hip as the Internet’s declared her as. Second, she represents the (very) slow abolition of ageism in the fashion industry. In addition to the Advanced Style movement, labels like Dolce & Gabbana (also this season) and Lanvin (never forget Spring 2012’s campaign starring 82-year-old Jacqueline Murdock) enlisted older women to front their collections, while the same year, Angela Lansbury made the cover of The Gentlewoman’s 2012 issue.

And this is the way it should be. Considering a lot of twenty-somethings (and hell, even thirty-somethings) don’t have the money to invest in designer collections (we thrift for many reasons, people, and lack of dollars is totally one of them), the masterminds behind these pieces should appeal to the women who do; to the women who’ve earned it. Didion? She’s earned it. So why shouldn’t she be named the face of a major fashion campaign? Why shouldn’t her presence inspire young fashion lovers to pick up her memoir, Blue Nights? Why shouldn’t she show off pieces she looks absolutely killer in? Exactly. The world belongs to Didion now. There will be no more injustices in the fashion world anymore.

Just kidding.

Justin Bieber Calvin Klein

The same hour we sang around Didion’s first campaign photo, Justin Bieber was revealed as Calvin Klein’s new underwear model. (Can you believe you’re reading this after everything I just told you? Or more specifically: can you believe you’re reading this at all?) In the first official photo, shot by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, the 20-year-old singer stands wearing boxer-briefs, channeling the spirit of Marky-Mark Wahlberg back in the early nineties. In the second photos, he’s being cradled, still shirtless, by model Lara Stone.

No, but really: why? In response to what none of us can un-see, the Guardian brought up a perfect point by asking who this campaign is supposed to be directed towards. Teen girls? Teen girls’ boyfriends? Certainly not grown men, whose spending will never be influenced by a young man renowned for drag racing more than music-making. Absolutely not grown women whose instinct is to slowly direct this tiny boy to the waiting arms of his mother or any other grown-up willing to take care of and/or detox him. Didion, on one hand, represents Céline’s understanding of literary culture, strong, feminist voices, and that fashion is for everybody.

Bieber’s ad represents a thirst for publicity.

The thing about PR moves is that they happen, we talk about them (hello), and then nobody thinks about them in two weeks’ time. Does Justin Bieber look good in his ads? Sure! He showed up, he put on his underwear, he looked at the camera—he did his job. But to front for Calvin Klein’s underwear campaign isn’t about Bieber. It’s about Calvin Klein enlisting a polarizing figure it thinks will make us talk. Correction: who it knows will make us talk.

This isn’t about Calvin Klein appealing to youth culture or breathing new life into Justin Bieber’s career. This is the brand using the controversy around him to stir up controversy for themselves. This is the opposite of Didion for Céline. This is how to get headlines accompanied by an eyeroll, not headlines accompanied by the promise of a new age in fashion. It’s about using a troubled pop star for click bait. It’s not about glorifying a campaign star who has been through hell and emerged on the other side, cool as hell in her big sunglasses.

Céline’s ad represents the way fashion’s going. Calvin Klein’s represents the way it once went. I’m just sorry Bieber had to get caught in the middle.