BEST OF 2017

The Most Provocative, NSFW Fashion Ad Campaigns of 2017

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Courtesy of Palomo Spain

It’s an age-old adage, particular in industries like fashion, that sex sells, but in 2017, designers went above and beyond in proving that to be true, graduating from eschewing clothing altogether—even in the case of those known for their eccentric, theatrical designs, like Palomo Spain’s Alejandro Gomez Palomo and Jacquemus’s Simon Porte Jacquemus—to actually capturing models having sex, as Eckhaus Latta did with the help of the photographer Heji Shin, a little bit of pixelation, and a motley crew of youths assembled from places like Craigslist. Of course, the provocation wasn’t always as obvious as nudity: Brands like Dior and Gucci still managed to draw eyeballs for their choice in models, whether clothed or not, from 25-year-old Cara Delevingne advertising an anti-aging skincare line to aliens and other nefarious creatures showing off the best of fall/winter 2017. Here, take a look back at those campaigns and more, like the Saint Laurent ad that was too risqué even for France.

1

Two months before Beyoncé wore the already buzzy label Palomo Spain in her first-ever post-twins pregnancy photo, which was one of this year’s most liked Instagrams, Spain was already attracting quite a bit of attention to itself with its fall/winter 2017 campaign photographed by 19-year-old Kito Muñoz, where completely nude men parade around the Andalusian countryside right alongside eccentrically clothed ones.

2

Palomo Spain proves once again that you don’t actually need to feature any clothes to make a fashion campaign.

3

Also lacking in the clothing department: Simon Porte Jacquemus might be known for his eccentric designs, but there was nary a stitch of cloth in sight apart from the giant beach umbrella in Jacquemus’s completely nude fall 2017 campaign, photographed by David Luraschi.

4

For his first-ever campaign at Calvin Klein, Raf Simons had his own spin on the brand’s legendarily provocative ads by plopping a handful of boys in briefs down in front of massive artworks by heavyweights like Sterling Ruby and Andy Warhol. The campaign was shot by Willy Vanderperre.

5

This might have been any old photo of Cara Delevingne modeling for a storied French fashion house, except that Dior didn’t tap the 25-year-old to model one of their collections, but to be the face of their new anti-aging skincare line dedicated to women in their thirties.

6

Bella Hadid echoed Terry Richardson’s infamous men’s perfume ad for Tom Ford in her Alexander Wang fall/winter 2017 campaign solo shot.

7

For his fall/winter 2017 campaign, Alexander Wang seemed to try to make up for the fact that his show that season really didn’t have an after-party by tapping Juergen Teller to photograph Lexi Boling, Bella Hadid, Binx Walton, Catherine McNeil, Anna Ewers and Hanne Gaby Odiele parading his new slogan while topless.

8

In case you couldn’t tell, Bella Hadid and Riccardo Tisci are very close: A couple of weeks after Tisci posted an eyeful of an Instagram with the pair about to lock lips, the designer tapped Hadid to sit on his lap in only a sports bra and sneakers for his latest NikeLab collaboration, an image Hadid happily shared this February.

9

The images may have been pixelated, but Eckhaus Latta’s website still crashed when the brand first unveiled its spring/summer 2017 campaign this March, which not only pictured clothes from that season’s collection, but also actual people, some found on Craigslist, having sex in them, as photographed in their bedrooms by Heji Shin.

10

It may have been their most out-there foray yet, but as usual, the brand known for its diverse casting of models stuck with its signature variety in the campaign, from the models Shin captured to their choice in sexual acts.

11

From his naughty early aughts days at Gucci to the present, Tom Ford has proved this century’s top provocateur when it comes to fashion advertising, demonstrated most recently in his fall/winter 2017 campaign photographed by Mario Sorrenti, here picturing Binx Walton and a male model who’s rather impossible to identify.

12

Here, in another shot from Tom Ford’s fall/winter 2017 campaign photographed by Mario Sorrenti, it is possible to identify the male model Jegor Venned—even though his face is, well, a bit obscured.

13

Really, though, there’s no need for the male models: Binx Walton reigns supreme all on her own in Tom Ford’s fall/winter 2017 campaign photographed by Mario Sorrenti.

14

Here lies Mariacarla Boscono, bedridden with a bit of Spring 2018 Proenza Schouler for a campaign shot by Tyrone Lebon.

15

Only earrings were required for Freja Beha Erichsen’s shot in the Saint Laurent spring/summer 2017 campaign, photographed by Collier Schorr.

16

Just two seasons in to his tenure at Saint Laurent, Anthony Vaccarello found himself fielding not just criticism for his fall/winter 2017 shot by Inez and Vinoodh, but also requests from France’s advertising watchdog, Autorité de Régulation Professionnelle de la Publicité, to either stop using, withdraw, or explain this image in particular for its suggestion of “sexual submission” and trivialization of “sexist stereotypes.”

17

To advertise its now 24-year-old fragrance, Obsession, this summer, Calvin Klein reprinted the ads that made it so famous: Those starring a waifish Kate Moss, who was at the time 18 and the literal obsession of the photographer and her then boyfriend Mario Sorrenti. Moss has since said that she had a nervous breakdown at 17 from the pressures of modeling, and said that Sorrenti was “abusing” her by bossing her around so much when photographing her constantly (and often nude) at the time.

18

Vittoria Ceretti is only barely visible in Loewe’s spring/summer 2018 campaign photographed by Steven Meisel, where suggestive produce like this rather vaginal dragonfruit take the main stage in the vein of the cult Instagram (and oft-censored) artist Stephanie Sarley.

19

There might not be much human flesh to see here, but the Creature from the Black Lagoon photographed by Glen Luchford for Gucci’s fall/winter 2017 campaign—along with no shortage of aliens—is bare down to his scales, aiding the brand’s case for positioning extraterrestrials as the next supermodels.