A Timeless Reference
Print Ads that shaped the 90s fashion industry

There’s something timeless about the fashion campaigns of the 90s. A formula that worked. An aesthetic we have constantly returned to. Though, with the emergence of social media, its feverish flow of digital images, and consequent saturation of audience needs for entertainment, fashion ads have, in turn, had to adapt. Where luxury brands are now able to build lasting relationships with consumers (at the touch of a screen, that is) this also invites an overload of content that could easily prove overwhelming. In honor of simpler times in fashion advertising, we take a nostalgic look through the archives of our favorite 90s campaigns.

 

 

Defined by an effortless glamour, ensembles that would mold our current tastes — and not to mention the surge of supermodels that still decorate our timelines, the advertising ads of the 90s evoke a whole aesthetic of their own. Perhaps it’s their seeming nonchalance that we most revere. Since Calvin Klein perfected their vision (â la Kate Moss in loungewear nonetheless), remnants of this influence are still very much present within contemporary campaigns. Just as Nike never abandoned their motivational slogans or solid color schemes, the decade was in many ways a pioneer of distinct formulas that would resonate beyond their time. 

 

One formula to have significantly made an impact was the obsession with the 90s supermodel. As the public became as ever enthralled with new models by the season (Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington, and Naomi Campbell, to name a few), it appears we still fall under the same spell with today’s generation of Hadids. Beyond the pages of magazines, for that matter, commercials at the time, we’re but an extension of this phenomenon. We can all recall Calvin Klein‘s Obsession campaign, featuring a fresh faded Kate Moss after all.  Becoming one of the key cornerstones of the brand, this ad ultimately launched the model’s now inimitable career.

Those monochromatic shots as she gazes intimately into the camera were taken by none other than Moss’s then-boyfriend Mario Sorrenti. In this respect, the 90s cemented our fascination with celebrities, as tabloids and fandom were taken to a whole new level. Brands would consequently use this to their advantage, namely featuring each rising star, both in print and on video campaigns. This technique is equally as ever-present today. Becoming somewhat of a muse to the brand, Moss has starred in countless Calvin Klein ads since even revisiting her modeling roots for the brand’s social media-heavy #mycalvins campaign in 2016.

The 90s have been revived in many areas of popular culture, counting music, beauty trends, and notably fashion. In line with the industry’s tendency for reinvention, the advertisements of the decade called for attention in that they stayed consistent. Many have managed to stand the test of time by providing timeless pieces that go with everything, while others have managed to make renowned comebacks in the face of the retro revival. Brands have even been known to take advantage of their 90s-based classics by means of creating their campaigns today in light of a throwback collection. Besides, all these years later, there’s nothing like a classic Prada purse or a pair of Nike Air-Force.

A Timeless Reference
Print Ads that shaped the 90s fashion industry

There’s something timeless about the fashion campaigns of the 90s. A formula that worked. An aesthetic we have constantly returned to. Though, with the emergence of social media, its feverish flow of digital images, and consequent saturation of audience needs for entertainment, fashion ads have, in turn, had to adapt. Where luxury brands are now able to build lasting relationships with consumers (at the touch of a screen, that is) this also invites an overload of content that could easily prove overwhelming. In honor of simpler times in fashion advertising, we take a nostalgic look through the archives of our favorite 90s campaigns.

 

 

Defined by an effortless glamour, ensembles that would mold our current tastes — and not to mention the surge of supermodels that still decorate our timelines, the advertising ads of the 90s evoke a whole aesthetic of their own. Perhaps it’s their seeming nonchalance that we most revere. Since Calvin Klein perfected their vision (â la Kate Moss in loungewear nonetheless), remnants of this influence are still very much present within contemporary campaigns. Just as Nike never abandoned their motivational slogans or solid color schemes, the decade was in many ways a pioneer of distinct formulas that would resonate beyond their time. 

 

One formula to have significantly made an impact was the obsession with the 90s supermodel. As the public became as ever enthralled with new models by the season (Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington, and Naomi Campbell, to name a few), it appears we still fall under the same spell with today’s generation of Hadids. Beyond the pages of magazines, for that matter, commercials at the time, we’re but an extension of this phenomenon. We can all recall Calvin Klein‘s Obsession campaign, featuring a fresh faded Kate Moss after all.  Becoming one of the key cornerstones of the brand, this ad ultimately launched the model’s now inimitable career.

Those monochromatic shots as she gazes intimately into the camera were taken by none other than Moss’s then-boyfriend Mario Sorrenti. In this respect, the 90s cemented our fascination with celebrities, as tabloids and fandom were taken to a whole new level. Brands would consequently use this to their advantage, namely featuring each rising star, both in print and on video campaigns. This technique is equally as ever-present today. Becoming somewhat of a muse to the brand, Moss has starred in countless Calvin Klein ads since even revisiting her modeling roots for the brand’s social media-heavy #mycalvins campaign in 2016.

The 90s have been revived in many areas of popular culture, counting music, beauty trends, and notably fashion. In line with the industry’s tendency for reinvention, the advertisements of the decade called for attention in that they stayed consistent. Many have managed to stand the test of time by providing timeless pieces that go with everything, while others have managed to make renowned comebacks in the face of the retro revival. Brands have even been known to take advantage of their 90s-based classics by means of creating their campaigns today in light of a throwback collection. Besides, all these years later, there’s nothing like a classic Prada purse or a pair of Nike Air-Force.

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