Lots of buzz yesterday over the launch of Lovable’s new Love Colour collection down on Bondi Beach. The new lingerie collection is based around sorbet colours and so Lovable ambassador Jennifer Hawkins and a gaggle of lingerie-clad models doled out ice creams - and lingerie - from a Mr Whippy van. Most interesting of all: the set of campaign images that was released online overnight and which according to Lovable, will appear in next week’s editions of Grazia, Cosmopolitan and Shop Til You Drop magazines. Conceived by Sydney-based Studio Woo and lensed by Australian fashion photographer Simon Lekias, the shots depict the former Miss Universe horsing around with a blueberry milkshake, a watermelon wedge and an ice cream cone filled with lemon sorbet. It’s the way Hawkins is holding the cone that grabs your attention. The cone is not far from her mouth, her mouth is wide open and sorbet is dripping down her arm. The Lovable press release describes the images as “cheekily suggestive”. Everyone to whom frockwriter showed the shots this afternoon concurred they are highly suggestive: of notorious American photographer Terry Richardson. And we all know what Richardson would be suggesting the cone and the white sorbet would be in this scenario. Warning NSFW photos.
In spite of the fact that the press release describes the shots as “cheekily suggestive images destined to set temperatures soaring across the country”, a spokeswoman for Lovable's parent company Gazal denied that the ice cream cone image was supposed to suggest Hawkins administering a blowjob - or indeed that Terry Richardson was the inspiration.
“I’m sure there will be some complaints” said Gazal's Dianne Taylor. “We normally do get them when we put a female in lingerie in any sort of advertising. But we don’t see that [blowjob/semen scenario] at all. That representation was not intended at all”.
“The creative is suggestive, but a lot of Lovable’s creative has been suggestive in the past” said Taylor, adding that a billboard ad featuring Hawkins with a stuffed rhinoceros and the tagline “Feeling horny?” was banned in New Zealand in 2007.
“The brief was to launch the colour range, to play on Lovable’s cheeky tone of voice, which in the past has pushed boundaries. She [Hawkins] was comfortable to push the boundaries a little further. Justin Woo [Studio Woo] came up with the idea of the props”.
Woo was in transit from Melbourne when frockwriter called his studio this afternoon. But even a studio colleague conceded the campaign has "a Terry Richardson feel" to it.
Richardson has shot one campaign in Australia – a controversial Lee Jeans campaign in 2006, for which he was paid an estimated $200,000. At the time, industry sources told me that this figure was ten times what a local photographer would have been paid for the same campaign.
Richardson’s fashion work (below) has always blurred the boundaries between art and pornography.
When it comes to his personal work, however, there are no boundaries whatsoever – it is hardcore porn and Richardson himself is centre stage in pretty much every shot, giving a whole new meaning to the term photographic shoot.
But not everyone, it seems, has been having fun on jobs with "Uncle Terry".
Earlier this year a number of fashion models spoke out about Richardson, claiming he is a sexual predator who abuses the trust of inexperienced young women by encouraging them into compromising situations in order to take degrading images. The story made headlines around the world. Richardson is however still working, as busy as ever it seems.
It's interesting that a mainstream Australian brand such as Lovable would go anywhere near the style of his more risque work at this particular time. Especially a company that advocates corporate social responsibility via collaborations with femme-friendly organisations such as The Butterfly Foundation.
To quote the Lovable website:
“We are dedicated to changing the culture surrounding eating disorders and body image through our support of Butterfly, by using happy, healthy models in our campaigns and promotional activities and by continuing to design intimates that are not created to objectify women’s bodies but to make women look, and most importantly feel, great when they wear them”.
1, 2/ supplied by lovable
3/ sisley via terryrichardson.com
4/ pirelli 2009 calendar, menstyle.it via fashionologie
5/ rolling stone via high snobiety
6/ lee jeans via the age