Following hot on the heels of the spring campaign featuring the male cast of Moonlight, Calvin Klein has released a new campaign for women’s underwear. It’s beautifully filmed and has a cinematic feel. This is the work of director Sofia Coppola, and the ephemeral soundtrack is a new song by Phoenix.
The inclusion of veteran model Lauren Hutton, 73, has been the focus of some of the headlines surrounding the new campaign. She appears alongside Kirsten Dunst, who Sofia has worked with before, actors Rashida Jones, Nathalie Love, and Laura Harrier, Maya Thurman Hawke (the 18-year-old daughter of Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke), and director Chase Sui Wonders.
Although Lauren Hutton is included in the one-minute video, the director’s cut barely shows her in her underwear at all. She’s covered by a shirt with what is presumably a bra strap showing. The other cast members’ bodies are celebrated in detail with Sofia’s soft touch, but we are left wanting more of Lauren Hutton. The headlines proclaiming that Lauren Hutton has ‘proved’ that there’s no limit to being an underwear model, or that she ‘stars’ in the campaign, are unfortunately a little misleading. While it would be easy to write this off as a half-arsed move towards inclusivity that actually maintains the status quo, it is important to remember that a few years ago including Lauren Hutton would have been unthinkable.
As Steff Yotka writes for Vogue, ‘Think back to other Calvin Klein brand ads created in the ’80s and ’90s, and you’ll remember the teenaged Brooke Shields whispering about nothing coming between her and her Calvins; or the teenaged Kate Moss pressed, topless, against a butch and bulky Marky Mark. The Kate Moss campaign, seen alongside other early-’90s advertising and fashion shows, put an image of youthful sexiness at the fore of American culture.’ She goes on to describe how the brand is shifting to a more inclusive and diverse vision of American culture under the new directorship of Raf Simons.
While the Calvin Klein campaign is perhaps too tentative, it’s positive that a brand traditionally associated with youthful beauty is joining other brands – we think of Harvey Nichols and Urban Decay – who are breaking down ageism in fashion.