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What is up with nude models in shoe ads?
Earlier this week, Stuart Weitzman unveiled its spring 2017 campaign. Photographed by longtime company collaborator Mario Testino, the black-and-white images feature current brand face (and guest designer) Gigi Hadid completely naked — save for a pair of Stuart Weitzman’s satin “Clinger” boots (see above).
To be sure, this isn’t the first time a top model’s been photographed nude for a footwear campaign. It’s not even the first time a top model’s been photographed nude for a Stuart Weitzman footwear campaign. Behold, Gigi’s spring 2016 ad for the brand, co-starring Lily Aldridge and Joan Smalls — who, you guessed it, also appear unclothed:
By contrast, this 2012 spot starring Natalia Vodianova feels downright demure:
In news that’ll shock approximately zero people, Tom Ford is also a frequent offender:
Non-luxury labels are guilty of this too, though. Here’s Kate Upton enjoying a lazy Sunday morning wearing her Sam Edelman T-strap heels and nothing else, as one does:
And Dree Hemingway accessorizing with a wee farm animal for Agnona’s spring 2014 campaign:
Et tu, Versace?
While the below still was taken from a YSL beauty campaign and not an accessory-focused shoot, it features Cara Delevingne wearing the French fashion house’s shoes, therefore IT COUNTS.
Here’s a shoot Kelly Brook did for Ralph Lauren:
And lest you think that this age-old marketing gimmick is limited to labels that primarily produce sexy heels, guess again. Even Reebok — Reebok! — has featured naked celebrities in its sneaker ads.
Why does this keep happening? Sex might sell, but who decided that the best way to sell shoes is to veer so far from reality that you don’t even really notice the shoes? These looks are as NSFRL (Not Safe for Real Life) as they are NSFW.
Sure, designer campaigns should be aspirational — and what’s more aspirational than spending the day lounging around the house in nothing but your most expensive heels? But they should also be realistic enough to reassure potential shoppers that, should they choose to drop four figures on said heels, they’ll be able to find uses for them beyond the bedroom, and ways to style them beyond accessorizing with a live lamb.