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10 controversial ads which will leave you shocked

fashion and trends Updated: Mar 19, 2015 13:37 IST
Deekshita Baruah
Deekshita Baruah
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Milind-Soman-and-Madhu-Sapre-posing-nude-for-a-print-advertisement-for-Tuff-shoes

If you believe Milind Soman and Madhu Sapre posing nude for a print advertisement for Tuff shoes back in 1995 was controversial enough, think again. Sexually charged advertising campaigns, often which portrays young women in suggestive and vulgar poses is now a regular thing.

Last week, Dolce & Gabbana founders Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana faced the ire of feminists for their 'tres chic gang bang ad' which was shot way back in 2007 by photographer Steven Klein. The ad shows three bored hunks looking on; as a shirtless fourth man pins down an agile model wearing a swimsuit and high heels, arching her back. Back then, the ad was banned in numerous countries, including Spain and Italy.

But the big bad world of the web doesn't let you forget anything. Now, after eight long years, the ad has come under scrutiny. Why? Because, last week, the Italian designers sparked a firestorm after they criticised same-sex families (while the designer duo dated for 23 years before breaking-up in 2005) and called IVF offspring 'synthetic children' in an exclusive in Panorama magazine.

The fashion world went wild criticising them adding that the designer duo is crazy. Even Sir Elton John called for a boycott of the duo's fashion label. But they are not the only one to face the heat. Let's take a look at some of the fashion campaigns in the past that shocked the world.

Calida: Although the Swiss based innerwear company Calida was long forgotten, this ad featuring Bipasha Basu and Dino Morea remained etched in people's memory. Shot in1998, Dino was seen pulling off Bipasha Basu's underwear with his teeth.

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It was eventually banned when several women organisations raised their voices against the ad. Bipasha Basu later claimed that those were some private moments that were not meant to be photographed and used.

United Colours of Benetton: Although Benetton ads won a lot of appreciation for raising public awareness on important social issues, the company also came under harsh scrutiny for crossing the fine line in few of its campaigns. Launched in 2011, its Unhate campaign featured images of world leaders in passionate lip-locks.

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There were shots of President Obama kissing Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Pope Benedict XVI making out with Egypt's Grand Sheikh Ahmed el Tayeb. Benetton apologised and pulled the ad after the Vatican sued them.

Sisley: They might have been the first one to glamourise substance abuse as a way to sell clothes, but it's definitely not cool. Sisley used this photo as a part of the 2007 Chinese advertising campaign, which bears the tagline: "Fashion Junkie." In this ad the message is clear: "Fashion can be addictive", but they completely lost the plot.

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Gucci: Tom Ford has been synonymous with unbridled sexuality. And since 1994 when Tom Ford took over Gucci, the company lived by one rule 'sex sells!' Gucci that rose out of alleged bankruptcy to become one of the most popular luxury fashion retailers can easily boast of a number of ads bordering on vulgarity and objectification of women. This ad for instance.

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Dolce & Gabbana: Forget about empowering women, Dolce & Gabbana's constant re-defining of gender norms is actually damaging. This 2007/2008 campaign by the label is seen portraying women dominating men in situations reminiscent of BD/SM (Bondage Domination/Sadomasochism).

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This ad created such an uproar that Gabbana publically had to announce: "Since these images have offended someone, we want to stress that we wanted to represent a strong and dominatrix woman, as in today's woman."

Yves Saint Laurent: Yves Saint Laurent's 2000 ad campaign for Opium fragrance instantly caught everybody's attention and also became the most complained ad of the year in the UK. A nude, reclining Sophie Dahl featured in nothing but white paint, jewellery and heels.

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Diesel: While its 2011 'Be Stupid' campaign won awards, certain photos caused uproar in UK as parents believed they encouraged sexualised behaviour of children. This ad of a topless young girl flashing a CCTV camera was banned as posters but still allowed to appear in magazines.

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Tom Ford: Before Tom Ford took over Gucci; the label was still famous for infusing unabashed sex appeal into their marketing campaigns. Most of their campaigns were banned on grounds of vulgarity.

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Calvin Klein: Group orgies to prove sexual prowess is not one of the best ways to sell a brand. This S/S 2009 ad campaign, shot by Steven Meisel got people talking.

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Levis: In 2008, Kangana Ranaut in the Levis 'Stuck On You' campaign stopped people in their tracks. In one of the photos, the fashionista is seen atop a shirtless model.

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