A little while ago, my friend asked me to do the garment district tour with her in NYC. It was a fun little walk, with a very, very old guide who tried to impress upon us how much he knew about the industry. I don’t know if he did or not to be honest. We stood in a lot of building lobbies where he would lightly mention that he wasn’t welcome there anymore. At one point we stood in front of a giant billboard and the guide said that this was where Calvin Klein made his mark. According to him, no-one knew who Calvin Klein was at the time, so he put all his money into this giant billboard with a topless Brooke Shields wearing only a pair of jeans and that’s how he made himself really well known. I have to mention again that the guide was super old and possibly rolling Kate Moss and Brooke Shields into one singularity (Brooke is definitely not topless in the ad), but the point remains that Calvin made his mark by positioning the brand as more overtly sexual.
It has been a long time since Calvin has been considered a ‘sexy’ brand (other than that bizarre dip in 2015 with Justin Bieber.) and Eternity the perfume itself has always been the particularly ‘wholesome’ part of the CK brand. Generally it’s represented by Christy Turlington, her handsome counterpart and a bunch of tousle-haired blonde children romping on the beach. It hasn’t changed since the 90s.
Cut to three decades later and I wouldn’t blame Christy if she wanted to take a yoga break. So they’ve changed it up with Jake Gyllenhaal and the blonde kids have been put out to pasture.
Jake Gyllenhaal, Liya Kebede and Leila are your perfect 21st century family to help sell Eternity to a new generation. They look fantastic (that kid has a perfect face) but I’m not sure. The entire concept smacks of artifice. Some creative director sat in a room and had a hot take: Jakey G (gay rumours not-withstanding) together with a gorgeous Ethiopian model and a random child presenting as a family. I mean we all know Jake isn’t a father at all, so it’s pretty meaningless to pretend to be one to sell perfume. His entire persona is “Jake-the-single-guy”, and this poster asks us to suspend our disbelief. He normally has an entire movie to try and make me believe these things, not mere seconds.
I might have been more amenable to this if it was just Jake staring off into the distance.
What do you think? Is this poster your jam?