In retrospect, maybe we shouldn’t have been that surprised by the choice of Shawn Mendes as the latest face (and body) of Calvin Klein Underwear. Stripping down to the brand’s iconic skivvies is basically a teen-idol rite of passage, with Mendes following in the footsteps of everyone from Mark Wahlberg to Justin Bieber. Besides, despite his relatively wholesome image and unfailing Canadian-bred politeness, the 20-year-old singer-songwriter has never been particularly shy about flaunting his body. He basically took a shower both onstage at the MTV VMAs and in a recent music video, and more recently he performed sleeveless at the Grammys. He does make it a point to find time to work out every single day, after all.
Still, the unveiling of the first few images from his upcoming campaign (and, yes, there will be more to come) sent shockwaves through the Internet, like they’ve never seen anyone in boxer briefs before. How quickly we seem to forget Joe Jonas’s Guess underwear campaign.
Twitter went absolutely wild at the announcement, with reactions ranging from declarations of immaculate pregnancy to recommitments to those New Year’s gym-related resolutions to, uh, critiques of the set design. Here, some of the (more safe-for-work) reactions.
Instagram, of course, is erupting over the news as well. In less than 24 hours, Mendes’s post has racked up 7 million likes, becoming his most-liked upload on the site ever (and though it probably won’t reach the highs of “World Record Egg,” it’s not unthinkable that it might crack the top 20 most-liked posts of all time when all is said and done).
But there’s more than just basic, uncensored thirst to talk about here. Mendes’s campaign is the first major branding exercise for Calvin Klein since it parted ways with the former chief creative officer Raf Simons. While Simons put the Kardashian-Jenner sisters in CK intimates for various campaigns, the Belgian designer wasn’t trolling the pages of Tiger Beat to find inspiration for the men’s underwear campaigns. Instead, his most notable men’s underwear campaign during his tenure featured the cast of the Academy Award–winning film Moonlight, which lead to the image of Trevante Rhodes in black hip briefs being burned into the minds of many (Mendes, for his part, seems to have drawn the line at trunks). If anything, Mendes’s campaign represents a bit of a reset for the CK undies brand.
Of course, more material from the Mendes campaign is set to roll out this week, at which time we assume Twitter will erupt in even more surprise pregnancies.
The Most Provocative Fashion Ad Campaigns of 2018
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.
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.)