Sunday, May 1, 2022

Brooke Shields' Calvins Return to Sexualize Teen?

In Vogue's YouTube channel video, "Brooke Shields Tells the Story Behind Her 80's Calvin Klein Jeans Campaign" (Oct 28, 2021), Brooke Shields shared that she was naive about the sexual nature of the "Nothing Comes Between Me & My Calvins" advertisement:
"I was naive. I didn't think anything of it. I didn't think it was - [it] had to do with underwear. I didn't think it was sexual in nature [...] I was a kid. And where I was - I was naive. I was a very protected, sequestered kind of young woman [...]"

Although, Shields claims that she was naive at 15, is it safe to assume that Shields' mother was in on the sexual innuendo? #rhetoricalquestion 

However, now at middle-age, Shields appears to condone the Calvin advertisements by admitting that (teen) sex sells:
"Yeah, at 56, I can go back and look at the camera, and say, "Oh well it's zooming in. And yeah, it's sort of on my crotch area. And then it comes to my face." Like, okay, but sex has sold since the dawn of time." 

Shields even admitted that, due to the allure appeal of nymphets, her Calvin campaign was "extremely successful", she admitted that Richard Avedon, the photographer, and Klein "knew exactly what they were doing", and she shared that her Calvin campaign was life changing for her and Klein. #intherightplaceattherightime

"The campaign was extremely successful."

"There's an appeal to it that is so undeniable. And they tapped right into it. You know, they knew exactly what they were doing."

"[...] he [Calvin Klein] said it changed his entire career and life. And it put Calvin on the map [...] which was what I think they had hoped for it."

"He said, 'You know, you changed the course of my life and my career.' And I said, 'Well, you did mine too.' We were in the right place at the right time." 

Survival of the Fittest (2022)
Source: Louis K Meisel 

Thus, it's no surprise that Shields shared with Katie White in the artnet news interview "[...] Brooke Shields on Why She [...] Volunteered to Model for Her Latest Work" (Wed Apr 27 2022) that not only does Shields still have the, what White referred as "iconic", Calvins from the infamous (sexualized teen) advertisement but Shields gave the Calvins to Grier - her 15-year-old daughter (to volunteer) to pose in two Tara Lewis paintings.

Grier modeling for Tara Lewis
Shields: I even went into the archives and pulled out my very original Calvins. 

White: Oh, wow, the Calvins you wore in the famous ad?

Shields: Yes! I don’t fit in them anymore, but my 15-year-old does so she’s wearing them in one [sic] [two] of Tara’s paintings, recreating a pose from that shoot. 
 Family Jean (2022)
Source: Louis K. Meisel

In the Balthus like paintings, we can only imagine how Nicholas Fox Weber would describe Lewis' paintings of Shields' 15-year-old with the nymphet's peek of (bare) midriff and proposing posterior. 

Unsurprisingly, Survival of the Fittest 2021 has sold. But surprisingly, Family Jeans 2022 is available, which will be on view at the aptly named “Role Modeling” exhibit at Louis K. Meisel Gallery in SoHo starting May 4, 2022.

Rowan modeling for Hell Yes (2022)

And Rowan, another teen daughter of Shields, modeled for Tara Lewis. In Hell Yes (2022), Rowan stares seductively at you with the words Hell Yes exclaiming from her bosom between her pigtails that drape her fountains. 

Shields has come to condone her Calvin advertisements so much so that the exhibit even includes a, sort of, shrine of Shields' (sexualized) teen magazine covers with a Calvin centerfold spread - front and center.

Richard Prince's Spiritual America (1983)

White wrote that Shields: "[...] has famously played muse for photographers, from Richard Avedon to Bruce Weber, and artists, including the painter Eric Fischl." But White failed to mention Richard Prince’s Spiritual America exhibit at the Guggenheim where a photograph of a nude 10-year-old Shields was on display. Interestingly,  Shields' mothers reportedly sold the photograph to Playboy Press for a whopping $450.

Nor did White mention Shields' 13-year-old "womanly" bikini pose in Life magazine that was written about in the Vanity Fair piece "The Photo That Changed My Life". 

Pretty Baby (1978)

But maybe it wasn't relevant for White to mention Shields' role as a pre-teen prostitute in Pretty Baby (1978), where her virginity was sold for a whopping $400.

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