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6 Iconic Fashion Ad Campaigns

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In another life I would love to be a fashion photographer, but in this life? Mario Testino I am not. While I've always loved fashion, it was Testino's images of Princess Diana that first got me interested in fashion photography and advertisements. Some campaigns are more memorable than others; whether they are effective, obnoxious, or controversial, there are some images that are truly iconic. Here are a few of my favorites:

American Apparel

American Apparel ads have run into controversy almost from the beginning. The company doesn't shy away from sex or nudity in their print ads, and has used adult film actresses as models in the past. I like that the ads are almost under-styled, without heavy airbrushing; they are light and airy and almost most like candids.


In 1994 Eva Herzigova's billboard ad for the Wonderbra by Gossard caused car crashes--and complexes.


The Nike Air Jordan campaigns ushered in a new era for athletes endorsing products. You didn't have to play basketball to want a pair of Jordans.

Calvin Klein

I couldn't choose between two famous CK ad campaigns, so I included them both. First up, the CK jeans ads from the 1980s didn't just feature a sexy image and a famous actress, they included one of the most famous lines in fashion advertising. Men drooled when Brooke Shields told us: "You wanna know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing."

In the 1990s Mark "Marky Mark" Wahlberg made waves shooting underwear ads for Calvin Klein. The images were shot by celebrity photographer Herb Ritts, who has photographed Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell, Dizzy Gillespie, Johnny Depp and Julia Roberts, to name just a few. Ritts has also shot some beautiful music videos, including one of my favorites, Madonna's "Cherish." (In fact, if you love fashion photography, go take a look at the Herb Ritts website.) Model Kate Moss was also featured in some of these Calvin Klein ads, which the American sportswear company splashed huge billboards of the muscular then-singer/future actor in Times Square and you couldn't open a magazine without seeing Mark's ab muscles staring back at you.

Anna Nicole Smith for Guess

There is something eerie about looking back at Anna Nicole Smith's early Guess adds. Her beauty is so astonishing, and it's really hard to believe the course that her life took. She exudes glamor and confidence as the Guess girl, making them all the more poignant when viewed today.

There is no other image as iconic as Marilyn Monroe for Chanel No. 5 perfume. Her suggestive pose--leaning forward, touching her own bare cleavage, spaghetti straps falling around her shoulders--makes you wonder whether she is dressing or undressing. One of Marilyn's most famous lines came in response to an interviewer: "What do I wear to bed? Why, Chanel No. 5, of course." It couldn't have been better if it were written for her. Over the years other famous faces have represented Chanel perfumes: legendary French actress Catherine Deneuve, Keira Knightley (Coco Mademoiselle), Vanessa Paradise (Coco), Nicole Kidman (Eau Premier) and the current No. 5 spokesmodel, Audrey Tatou, but none have managed to create an iconic image for the brand the way Marilyn Monroe did, with just one ad-lib.

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