Fashion brands mix it up with an increasingly rough crowd

By T.L. Stanley on Fri Oct 29 2010

6a00d8341c51c053ef0133f53ec240970b-450wi So what if that Calvin Klein ad was a little rape-y? Supermodel Lara Stone likes it that way, or so she says in the UK issue of Vogue. In case you missed the dustup, the Advertising Standards Bureau in Australia banned a recent ad from the provocative marketer, saying it not so subtly suggested sexual violence. Stone's at the center of that campaign and she had this to say about it: "I think naughty shoots suit my personality. I don't mind doing a straightforward fashion shoot, but it's more fun when there's something naughty in it." So there, you prudish Aussies! In other fashion news that packs a punch, the Hells Angels are suing designer Alexander McQueen and retailers Saks Fifth Avenue and Zappos for infringing on the outlaw motorcycle club's "death head" trademark. The infamous bikers have used the winged skull as their logo for decades— it's been repeatedly registered, the club's copyright lawyer says—and they don't take kindly to seeing it on the McQueen label's clutch purses, scarves and dresses. If there were ever an unwise bit of borrowing, this would be it. To any designers considering lifting a piece of motorcycle gang property: don't. If you're jonesing for a walk on the wild side, can't you just go after the Sons of Anarchy license?

Calvin Klein's new spokesmodels look good, talk bad

Posted on Thu Mar 11 2010

Hot guys in manties showing off their incredible physiques while spouting some salty, come-hither language? Oh, bring it on, Calvin Klein. The iconic brand ran afoul of fans of beefcake actors Kellan Lutz (Twilight) and Mehcad Brooks (True Blood) and pro athletes Hidetoshi Nakata (Japanese soccer star) and Fernando Verdasco (Spanish tennis player) by obscuring their washboard abs in a current billboard campaign. This 49-second video, apparently, is the make-good. I won't belabor the point—this marketer has always known how to present its underthings, frilly or otherwise, in the best possible light using some amazingly appealing spokesmodels for the perfect brand-meets-celebrity-skin ads. The new campaign for X Underwear is no exception. X marks the spot? It sure does.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

A collective yawn as CK's too-hot-for-TV spot makes it to cable

Posted on Fri Mar 6 2009


Remember that Calvin Klein jeans ad that was deemed too hot for American TV? Well, it's not too hot for cable. An edited version of the original, which was released with much fanfare earlier this year on the designer's Web site, has begun airing during envelope-pushing cable shows like Nip/Tuck. Guess the string of letter ratings that accompanies that series—TV L, S, V, M for its coarse language, sexual situations and violence (intended for mature audiences only!)—covers all the bases for anything that commercial director Steven Meisel could come up with. The grainy, intentionally rough-around-the-edges ad shows some gorgeous models in Calvins and little else, writhing around in simulated sex on a couch. It's become stock in trade for CK to intentionally create ads that won't pass muster with TV standards departments. (PETA and GoDaddy do it, too. It's all the rage.) But when you see it in context—this week's Nip/Tuck season finale showcased a couple of modern-day blood-drinking "vampires," a nitrous-addicted anesthesiologist and a sex scene that turned into a murder—the ad seems positively anticlimactic.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley



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