Coco Chanel once said, “Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.”
Obviously, I wholeheartedly agree with Coco, and I absolutely think fashion is a beautiful and creative way to express oneself. Not everyone has a similar opinion, and the fashion industry is often labeled as the catalyst for poor body image, a shameless promoter of consumerism, and anti-feminism.
And when I turn the page to an ad like the one below, it’s not hard to see why. Four dudes greased up and in the process of what one can only assume is gang rape doesn’t really make me look at the clothing in this ad so much as wonder if it comes with pepper spray.
Dolce & Gabbana, being an Italian fashion house, always runs provocative ads that are usually quite beautiful. Take the one below, for example.
The detail in the white dresses draws your eye immediately to it, and the contrast between the stern model in black, and the hysterical models in white makes you stop and wonder what’s going on and why women dressed so beautifully can’t chill out and get along.
You could say this is a fairly uncharacteristic Dolce & Gabbana ad campaign, especially in comparison to the one I posted above it. It’s not hard to see why people criticize the fashion industry when it’s churning out images like the former. This could easily be written off to the fact that this, like the clothes, is a product of Italy, a place where no one thinks twice about nudity in the pages of their Vogue Italia. But can we not put cultural relativism aside and agree that there is a clear representation of sexual male dominance in this image, and that several men forcing a woman to have sex with them is wrong?
Uh, yeah, we can.
I love Dolce & Gabbana’s fall/winter 2011 collection, which is the collection the second ad displays. But there are ways to create a sexy ad that doesn’t make me want to call the cops on the male models. Hopefully Dolce & Gabbana figures this out soon so that their incredible work isn’t overshadowed by a perpetuation of the evils people associate with fashion.