Authorial advertising: David Lynch for Calvin Klein's obsession

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Until not long ago, however, considering advertising as an art form or, conversely, believing that art could "bend" to be used for commercial purposes seemed unthinkable.

Today we have clear evidence that crossing the boundaries between art and advertising is not only possible but also a winning combination from both a communication and artistic standpoint, resulting in uniqueness, experimentation, and the creation of new languages and stylistic grammars. Any examples?

David Lynch X Obsession

Few people know that David Lynch, the visionary director of some of the most visceral and unsettling films in history (such as Blue Velvet, Wild at Heart, and Mulholland Drive, to name a few), is actually a versatile artist who has lent his hand to various art forms such as music, design, comics, painting, and, last but not least, the creation of works for a completely different realm: advertising.

It is he, an artist often underestimated for his commercial output, who opens up the debate on authorial advertisements: a production that aligns the brand's language with the director's aesthetic, technical, and imaginative style.

Lynch's first advertisements, which have now become iconic, arrived in 1988, following the great success of Blue Velvet, for Calvin Klein's Obsession perfume line. In the late '80s, advertising, especially for a product so closely tied to the sensory sphere, did not yet have its own semantics and precise stylistic elements. David Lynch's entry into advertising, so deeply connected to his personal vision of the world, contributed to defining and consolidating the grammar of sensory aspects in commercial spots.

For the brand, Lynch created a four-part series, each consisting of an interpretation of verses by renowned authors: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, D.H. Lawrence, and Gustave Flaubert. In this sequence of spots, the director creates an emotional narrative and reproduces it according to his passionate, seductive, and dreamlike language, which later became associated with the subsequent commercial communication of the perfumes.

Black and white photography, captivating actors with a gaze lost in emptiness, in continuity with the identity of the Calvin Klein brand, combined with Lynch's aesthetic characteristics: noir tone, dreamlike atmosphere, unusual close-up shots of body parts, flashing lights, a true passion of the director.

Each of these spots has its own peculiarities. Garpez chose to present the third spot, dedicated to D.H. Lawrence. Perfectly individual and perfectly together. Lynch's third spot for Obsession draws inspiration from D.H. Lawrence's novel Women in Love, a novel that revolves around the question:

Is it possible to live love happily?

The writer's answer, whose book was considered full of depravity and vices by readers of the time, seems bitter and pessimistic: love is a utopia of goodness and perfection. Lynch takes up the novel to shoot an authorial advertisement, the most intimate in his advertising production, to define and consolidate the iconic love lexicon of the male and non-binary fragrance industry.

Watch the spot on our social profiles: LinkedIn and Instagram

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