As I was looking through Harper’s Bazzar’s September issue and I came across a Calvin Klein fall 2017 ad. I instantly thought of Las Meninas by Velasquez (1656). It’s not surprising that fashion takes it’s influence from art and vice versa. It’s clever for a brand to advertise using references to themselves. Calvin Klein became a world renowned brand because of their controversial, sexy billboards, TV and magazine advertisements.
The art history concept of branding within branding is present. Notice how Velasquez is painting a royal portrait and includes himself in the work? Velasquez is branding himself as an accomplished artist by giving himself credit with the task of painting the portrait of the Spanish royal family. This trend continues with another piece, At the Moulin Rogue by Toulouse Lautrec (1895). Toulouse Lautrec includes himself in his own artwork as a man of the people. Lautrec was influenced by the night life in Paris and he responds by including what he see’s and himself interacting with the people in the night scene. Lautrec gives himself credit of his daily life inspirations. Velasquez and Lautrec include themselves as another way of branding themselves as artists.
This all relates back to the Calvin Klein fall 2017 ad campaign, in which the models are posing the new fall collection while a billboard of the past spring Calvin Klein season is in the background. As a reference to how Calvin Klein got famous while including the new vision of the brand under Raf Simons.