I am studying for my Visual Culture exam at the moment and was researching some of my favourite clothing/fashion ads. Tom Ford came to mind immediately. If you browse through his campaigns his use of nudity to sell is explicit and also fantastic.
Featured above are my a few of my favourite photos from Tom Ford's eye wear campaigns. The signifiers are simple, as are the denotations, as are the connotations. We are a dangerously fast paced world- if anything is too complex we will grow bored and utter "poo poo".
The young woman is model Freja Beha Erichsen and the young man is the much adored Nicholas Hoult (from 'Skins' and 'A Single Man' etc). Hoult (especially in the last image) seems very much like a young Tom Ford. I just love Ford's eye for colours (yellow, blue, black) here because they are slightly off mainstream elegance. As academic Raymond Williams states, "we do not buy an object but social respect...beauty...success". These ads are not about the eye wear itself but what purchasing these Tom Ford brand eye wear means for us. It is a search for obtaining a real object that embodies our ideological "webs of significance" (Clifford Geertz). Once purchased we have the hope that we will be the envy of others however, all this is FALSE, FALSE, FALSE as you cannot BUY social class . Advertising is a "magic system" built on "myth"...unfortunately.
The connotations of youthful elegance and sex appeal that many of us will find in these ads reveal society's generalised ideals and wants. Many smaller signs within the ad create the one global signified. It's pretty fantastic how much these images tell us. Yet, at the same time, does this mean we are a highly superficial society, focused on looks and money and youth?
Ha. Tom Ford knows it, you know it and I know it.