CALVINS CONTENTIOUS CAMPAIGN
If American designer Calvin Klein has one trademark, it’s the brand’s penchant to release overly suggestive and highly sexualised advertising campaigns. This ´sex sells´ ethos has been ingrained into the brands DNA since the mid 80´s (when the FBI raided Klein’s New York offices over the campaign nick-named the ´Kiddie Porn Shoot´ featuring a 15 year old Brooke Shields). Over the years, Calvin Klein’s press and public alike have learned to prepare themselves for his sartorial shock tactics (which were sometimes more tasteful offerings, such as Kate Moss and Mario Sorrenti for Calvin Klein Obsession). However, many industry voices are describing his latest campaign with its imagery of Tinder hook-up´s and sexting themed ads as being a completely different story altogether.
For spring 2016, Klein rounded up all his usual fashion favourites including model of the moment, Kendall Jenner and a newer face, Abbey Lee Kershaw for a controversial advertising campaign that has been ingrained on everyone’s mind since its initiation. One image sees Kendall posing with a grapefruit (that not so subtly resembles a part of the female anatomy), while in another ´spread´ an unnamed model wears a pair of Calvin Klein denim jeans backwards to display a ´belfie´ (backwards selfie) all of which were shot once again by Klein´s favourite photographer Harley Weir.
” Our past campaigns have been more image driven and this one was about starting a conversation through provocation.” – Melisa Goldie, Calvin Klein Chief Marketing Officer
As has often been the case with Klein´s advertisements, the clothes seem to pay second hand to the poignancy of the brand, however as provocation stands with the label and its history, this latest offering is another story altogether. As the brand continues to court a younger audience, it is clearly obvious that their creative team can and will pull out all the stops to attract that certain age gap.
As Calvin Klein are still strategically waiting to announce the name of their new creative director, fashion editors from all around the world can only help but wonder if this latest vision and steamy branding was a step too far, or a literal taste of things to come thanks to the unrelenting exposure of todays digital media platforms. Whatever your view is on this, one thing is for certain. Sex still sells.
Article: Charles Daniel McDonald
Photography: Calvin Klein