The Most Provocative Fashion Ad Campaigns of 2018

Courtesy of Palomo Spain

On the heels of a year that took the age-old adage “sex sells” to new levels, complete with models having actual sex studding its NSFW roster, 2018 had to carve its own, more creative path into demanding attention. Exhibit A: Hedi Slimane causing an uproar by simply removing the accent aigu from Celine. Of course, not all of the tactics deployed were grammar-related: Gucci turned to Harry Styles, Kenzo turned to Britney Spears, and Nike turned to Colin Kaepernick—and some found success by carrying right on with nudity and drama, which are still going strong after decades. Eckhaus Latta and Palomo Spain got back to their usual tricks, but this time, they were in the company of labels like Yeezy, whose designer, Kanye West, shamelessly advertised his wares atop semi-nude porn stars who bear a resemblance to his wife, Kim Kardashian. From those who cosplayed as Kim to those who crawled the sidewalks in a leash, take a look back at the models who made true sacrifices for fashion, here.

Palomo Spain

A year after their infamous campaign featuring as many unclothed naked models as clothed, for fall 2018, the label Palomo Spain enlisted the photographer Kiko Muñoz to divide up their models into two parties once again—though this time with the third party of a leash.

Eckhaus Latta

Never mind that most people are terrified of clowns: Eckhaus Latta stayed true to their fun-loving ways by opting to promote their new denim line via topless models topped off with red and white paint.


Kanye West did a lot of senseless things in 2018, but the most organized was undoubtedly tapping his wife, Kim Kardashian, to be photographed by paparazzi in Yeezy Season 6, and then tapping a fleet of models impersonating Kardashian for Yeezy Season 6’s campaign—including none other than Paris Hilton.


As if Yeezy’s follow-up surprise campaign, starring more (and more NSFW) Kim look-a-likes, wasn’t already shocking enough, by the end of 2018, it would turn out that two of its stars (featured above), the Clermont Twins, had become the subject of more and more gruesome headlines.

Philipp Plein

It’s usually good news for a brand’s Black Friday sale to be promoted in the pages of WWD, but it wasn’t exactly the best of news this past November for Philipp Plein, which snagged that placement because of the amount of accusations leveled at the brand for attempting to tastelessly monetize violence against women.


Two years after Calvin Klein added another controversial ad to their roster, featuring Harley Weir’s upskirt photograph of a model from underneath her dress, Y/Project‘s Glenn Martens tapped the photographer Arnaud Lajeunie to follow in their footsteps, capturing a look from his label’s spring 2019 collection without bothering to feature the model’s face.


Y/Project also stirred things up when it joined in on the ugly footwear trend via a collaboration with Ugg, advertised practically sans clothing.


Jeremy Scott also amped things up for Moschino, painting Gigi Hadid’s skin blue and Kaia Gerber‘s red for the Italian house’s fall 2018 campaign, photographed by Steven Meisel. While the former garnered comparisons to a “supermodel Smurfette,” the latter stirred up controversy on Instagram for predictions that it would prompt accusations of blackface. While a few did call Gerber’s orange skin tone tone-deaf, others joked that she resembled Donald Trump (or perhaps simply ate too many carrots).


In keeping with its description—”the ultimate mash-up of cute and kinky”—Jeremy Scott’s partnership with the collage artist Portis Wasp saw the latter illustrate the pair’s swimwear and underwear collection with a little help from the Disney princesses. (And very little clothing.)