Calvin Klein courts controversy with new 'upskirt' advertising campaign

The fashion brand's new 'Erotica' campaign has been labelled voyeuristic and objectifying

Calvin Klein, Advertising, Klara Kristin, Calvin Klein courts controversy with new 'upskirt' advertising campaign

Model Klara Kristin, 23, appearing in the divisive campaing [Instagram]

The American fashion label Calvin Klein has come under considerable criticism after running a new advertising campaign that features a so-called ‘upskirt’ photo of a model. The image sees a model staring down at a camera positioned between her legs, with many of its critics labelling it as objectifying and voyeuristic.

On its Instagram account, Calvin Klein courted the controversy by posting a comment telling its followers to “take a peek” at Danish model and actress Klara Kristin. The image was produced as part of the fashion giant’s new provocative ad campaign, which is called Erotica and was snapped by world-renowned fashion photographer Harley Weir.

The image’s debut was immediately met with a barrage of negative comments from the account’s followers, with a series of Instagram users finding the image outrageous. Comments claiming it called to mind notions of “peeping Tom” behaviour and that it was inappropriate in a society that aims to be more mindful of rape culture.


Take a peek: @karate_katia, photographed by @harleyweir for the Spring 2016 advertising campaign. #mycalvins

A photo posted by Calvin Klein (@calvinklein) on

"This is literally advertising upskirt shots," read one Instagram comment, similar to many others. "Way to perpetuate rape culture @CalvinKlein, do you have any women in your ad department at all or do you just think they're there for decoration?"

"WTF??? This is so disturbing on so many levels, the biggest one is that she looks 12!" said another. 

Calvin Klein has a long history of using shocking images in its advertising campaigns in the past; in the 1990s, a series of images of the then 17-year-old supermodel Kate Moss styled in the so-called ‘Heroin Chic’ look (characterised by emaciated features, pale skin, and dark circles under the eyes) was criticised by President Bill Clinton. In 1995, the US Justice Department also launched an investigation into whether the clothing brands adverts, featuring teenage models under the age of 18, violated child pornography laws.


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