Monday 17 June 2019

Seven of the most controversial fashion ads... ever

Tom Ford's latest Neroli fragrance advert 2014
Tom Ford's latest Neroli fragrance advert 2014

Freya Drohan

Tom Ford’s latest Neroli fragrance advert has landed, and surprise surprise it contains nudity- a lot of nudity.

Credited with reinventing Gucci during his term as Creative Director- the designer did so by injecting unabashed sex appeal into the marketing campaigns- albeit controversially.

From Abercrombie and American Apparel to Benetton, the success of some brands has been attributed to their boundary-pushing advertisements.

Hundreds of fashion campaigns have set tongues wagging- here are some of the most notable:

1. Yves Saint Laurent

The 2000 ad campaign for Yves Saint Laurent’s Opium fragrance instantly demanded attention- thanks to a naked, reclining Sophie Dahl.

The ‘Lady in White’ advert, which featured the British model in nothing but white paint, jewellery and heels, was the most complained ad of the year in the UK. The man behind the campaign? Hands up, Mr Tom Ford.

Yves Saint Laurent, 2000.jpg

2. Wonderbra

Now considered one of the most iconic adverts of all time, when the Wonderbra ‘Hello Boys’ campaign was released in 1994, legend has it that the billboards resulted in car crashes when male drivers got distracted by Czech model Eva Herzigova and her assets.

Wonderbra, 1994.jpg

3. Gucci

One of the most talked about fashion ads of the noughties was the 2004 Gucci campaign which featured model Carmen Cass with a ‘G’ shaved into her nether regions.

The ad was infamously nicknamed ‘Pubic Enemy’ by the photographer Mario Testino who shot the image. Despite thousands of complaints, the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority did not ban the provocative ad.

Gucci, 2004.jpg

4. Calvin Klein

In 1995, a fresh faced Kate Moss made her international modelling debut in a campaign for Calvin Klein, shot by Steven Meisel. As the then 17-year-old was pictured straddling Mark Wahlberg, the ad was criticised from child welfare authorities and subsequently withdrawn.

Calvin Klein, 1995.jpg

No stranger to controversy, Calvin Klein’s 2010 advert that showed supermodel Lara Stone semi-naked on the ground being manhandled and held by the hair by a group of males came under fire for its depiction of sexual assault.

Calvin Klein, 2010.jpg

5. Dolce & Gabbana

The controversial predecessor to Calvin Klein’s sexual assault advert; one of Dolce & Gabbana’s 2007 ad was pulled in Spain as it was thought to ‘glorify rape’.

Designer Stefano Gabbana defended the image, saying its intent was to show “an erotic dream, a sexual game”.

Dolce & Gabbana, 2007.jpg

6. Sisley

In the last decade, Sisley (the sister company of United Colours of Benetton) have put forward several outrageous ads.

A 2007 “‘Fashioin Junkie’ (sic) advert, shot by Terry Richardson, depicted two models looking noticeably strung out and was condemned for its blatant expression of drug use.

Sisley, 2007.jpg

7. Diesel

While Diesel’s 2011 ‘Be Stupid’ campaign won awards, certain images caused offence in Britain as parents believed they encouraged anti social and sexualised behaviour of children.

Two of the adverts - one of a young girl topless flashing a CCTV camera and another featuring a girl taking pictures down her bikini bottoms- were banned as posters by the UK watchdog but were still allowed to appear in magazines.

Diesel, 2011.jpg

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