If fashion ads were about selling clothes, they would look like catalogues. After all, you can charge £200 for a dress, but a dream can cost at least 10 times that much. And while we’re used to advertisements selling some of our most frequently had fantasies — think Karlie Kloss as a paparazzi-besieged starlet for Diane von Furstenberg, or the Hadid, Jenner, and Smalls sisters cuddled up for Balmain — recently, designers seem to be taking steps further into the subconscious.
I used to write the contributor’s page for a fashion magazine, and part of this involved asking photographers about the broader theme or deeper meaning behind a shoot. The most evocative answer I usually got was, “The girl was beautiful. It was spring,” which was always said in the same tone you might use to tell a child to go to their room. The point is, there either was no hidden significance, or they didn't want to divulge it — and my money’s on the former.
The industry's more recent campaigns, though, suggest that designers and photographers are getting a bit more cerebral. Anyone can use a beautiful woman to sell a beautiful dress, but if you can sell a beautiful dress using a hedgehog, an overturned table, or an oversized marionette, you are basically a board-certified psychiatrist. Unfortunately, these ads are so rife with twisted symbolism — why is there a concrete median smashed atop a Porsche? — that they can be a little difficult to understand. Thankfully, as someone who very nearly got an "A" in Psych 101, I am uniquely qualified to analyse hidden meanings. Click ahead, we've diagnosed the truth behind 10 of the most out-there fashion ads.