Coming Klein
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Coming Klein


Photos by David Topping/Torontoist.

Gaze! Gaze upon the titillating young bodies above. Are you not outraged at their thousand-mile stares and disregard for shirts?
Facing the parking lot just off King Street West at Brant Street, the Calvin Klein ad—featuring two shirtless men and one shirtless woman looking bored, as shirtless models often are for reasons unbeknownst to us—is from the same set of photos, shot by fashion photographer Steven Meisel, as a significantly larger and significantly racier billboard in New York City that features the three models plus one more shirtless guy in the thick of what seems to be a burgeoning ménage à quatre. The New York ad is causing at least a bit of outrage there, mostly among freaked-out parents, and people like Elisabeth Hasselbeck, who on The View yesterday suggested that the ad depicted gang rape. Toronto, though, has seen no such uproar, perhaps because the scene affixed to the King West wall seems to have occurred some time after the more controversial scene hanging in New York: the guy writhing on the floor has apparently left, everyone looks vaguely disappointed, and no-one’s really sure what to say to one another, let alone able to maintain eye contact.
Unsurprisingly for a company that has done so so much worse before, Calvin Klein’s pretty jazzed about the controversy the New York ad has created. According to New York Magazine, designer Italo Zucchelli said at the Council of Fashion Designers of America awards ceremony earlier this week that “that is what Calvin Klein Jeans is supposed to be. Everyone needs to be scandalized and screaming. That is what we want….I hope [people’re] going to be, ‘Ooooh, what is that?’ And then they buy our jeans. In the best tradition of Calvin Klein.” We’re not even vaguely scandalized, but here we are writing about it, too! Mission accomplished, Calvin Klein.
Thanks to Emily Coyle for the tip.