The 10 Most Provocative Fashion Ads Ever Made (NSFW)

Because it’s Friday and we’re feeling frivolous, here are the 10 most provocative fashion ads ever made. Some are sexy, some are cheeky, and some are downright unacceptable…but all are super provocative. (Hell, these campaigns would even make American Apparel blush.)

1. Tom Ford For Men Fragrance

Tom Ford

The provocateur designer Tom Ford joined forces with the provocateur photographer Terry Richardson to create this 2007 campaign that left nothing to the imagination. It was banned in several countries.

2. Dolce & Gabbana

Dolce & Gabbana

This ad was banned in Spain and for good reason. Evoking a gang rape, even in the name of high fashion, is never a good look. This is appalling.

3. United Colors of Benetton

United Colours of Benetton

 

In contrast, this one is powerful, with the United Colors of Benetton replacing their name with the words “domestic violence” to highlight a very important issue.

4. Miu Miu

miu miu

Haute-couture or Lolita-esque exploitation? Probably a bit of both.

5. Alexander Wang

Alexander-Wang-Denim

Dayyyym. We’ll let the designer explain his Calvin-Klein-inspired 2014 ad: “It’s not provocative just in terms of sexy, but provocative to provoke conversation… I’m not dictating what that message is exactly. The interesting part is to see how people interpret it, and what they have to say about it. Of course, there are going to be people who disagree with it.” (As told to fashion journal WWD).

6. Opium by YSL

Opium by YSL

I’ve always liked this one and I think it’s quite beautiful, evoking a Renaissance painting and featuring the more full-bodied (although still very slim) Sophie Dahl. Not everyone agrees with me—this ad received 948 complaints when it came out in 2000.

 7. United Colors of Benetton “UNHATE” campaign

United Colors of Benetton 2

Whoaw. United Colors of Benetton really takes it there with this (we think awesome) 2011 campaign featuring pope Benedict XVI and imam Sheik Ahmed el-Tayeb kissing. Other versions featured world leaders such as Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel smooching French president Nicolas Sarkozy, and President Obama locking lips with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. But the above is undoubtedly the most shocking—it was taken down in a matter of hours, with the Vatican calling it a “grave” act of disrespect.

8. Sisley’s “Fashion Junkie”

Sisley

United Colors of Benetton’s sister company is also no stranger to controversy. This 2007 ad was banned for glamorizing drugs. The model’s eyes really give it a punch.

9. Gucci

Gucci

Mario Testino’s 2003 ad for Gucci features supermodel Carmen Kass’s creative feminine up-keeping. This is trimming at its most inventive, but there’s also something that feels exploitative about this ad.

10. Sisley

Sisley 2

Another one by Sisley, another one by the master of shock, Terry Richardson. It features Josie Maran drinking milk from a cow’s udder. The pun is obvious and not very original. We get it. Let’s move on.

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