While a successful ad campaign is one that increases sales and brand awareness, an iconic campaign is one that garners attention beyond the realm of the product itself. The world of high fashion has delivered several such campaigns in recent decades. Here are just a few that stand out as remarkable, whether they were supporting a fragrance, a pair of jeans, or the brand itself.
Dolce & Gabbana Valentine's Day Campaign 2021
Just as fashion itself can be both thought-provoking and inspirational, so, too, can its ad campaigns. Dolce and Gabbana embraced that ethos with their 2021 Love Is Love ads supporting their collection, which feature visuals that depict the changing look of love in the modern world. The ads show the passion shared by couples in non-traditional relationships, and although they may still be considered provocative, they stand out by reflecting the beauty of love in all its forms.
Celine Spring Campaign 2015
Eschewing the usual bevy of young and beautiful faces to support its image, Celine cast inimitable literary icon Joan Didion as the face of the brand for its 2015 print campaign. By featuring an 80-something intellectual to model their understated, chic designs, Celine delivered a campaign that was both classy and classic, and the ad won praise for its simplicity and sophistication.
Givenchy Fall Campaign 2010
Fashion ads often break barriers, and Givenchy's decision to feature a transgender model in its fall/winter 2010 campaign is just one example. Although model Lea T. was not the first transgendered individual to forge a successful career in high fashion, featuring her so prominently was still seen as a notable move toward increasing the visibility of people who had often been marginalized.
Donna Karan Campaign 1992
Debuting in an election year, Donna Karan's 'In Women We Trust' ad series depicted a fictional female president wearing the designer's fashions as she was sworn into office, took meetings in the Oval Office, and more. At the time, it was unusual to tie the imagery of fashion and politics together, and it was all the more daring to feature a female commander in chief. Although the visuals would likely no longer be considered provocative, in the decades since the debut of the ads no woman has ascended to the presidency.
Versace Campaigns 1990s
While the eye-popping designs of Versace stand out in almost any decade, it's their embrace of the mega-model in the 1990s that delivered some of the house's most memorable advertising images. With many of the ads featuring several of the decade's biggest runway icons, the idea behind the campaigns seemed to be 'more is more.' The black and white 1990 image featuring Stephanie Seymour, Karen Mulder, Helena Christensen, Linda Evangelista, and Cindy Crawford packs a still-remarkable number of supermodels into a single shot.
Calvin Klein Denim Campaign 1980
'You want to know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing.' Although that iconic tagline raised a lot of eyebrows in its day, most people wouldn't have thought it would still be remembered well into the next century. The imagery of a young Brooke Shields posing suggestively in denim was controversial, and it was even banned by some television network affiliates. Yet there's no denying that the video and print ads that were shot by photographer Richard Avedon went a long way toward building the brand into the success it remains today.
It's clear from looking back on just a handful of campaigns that the fashion industry knows how to create advertisements that are memorable. From Calvin's jeans to Dolce & Gabbana's scents, fashionable products continue to be promoted with creative and noteworthy images.