Eckhaus Latta fashion campaign with people having sex is refreshing not R-rated

Had a hard day at the office?

Spare a thought for the photographic assistants who had to work on set of the latest Eckhaus Latta campaign.

The fashion house debuted an R-rated spring 2017 campaign on Instagram and its website this week. The concept? Couples having sex. 

The images, according to Paper magazine, feature real-life couples and people of different ethnicities and sexual orientations are represented.

The most explicit…bits…have been heavily pixelated and the couples are all wearing pieces from the new line.

Highlights include a metallic parka around the waist of a woman and a pair of jeans artfully positioned half way down the legs of one of the male “models”.

The New York-based designers Zoe Latta and Mike Eckhaus are renowned for their gender fluid collections and avant-garde presentations. Their previous shows and campaigns also push the envelope and have included a children’s choir and the live demolition of a wall. 

“We want people who wear our clothes to feel like our clothes are adding to them, not defining them,” Latta has said.

“Liberated from branding or marketing mechanisms that make people feel small. We’d like to offer an alternative – whether that’s in self-image, body image, gender identity or colour.”

The “underground” creatives have been designing clothes for what that call a “liberated audience” since 2012. Both made the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in 2016 alongside model Ashley Graham and former reality TV star turned fashion designer, Lauren Conrad. 

When taking in this new campaign, which one can do via the Eckhaus Zatta website (provided you are over the age of 18), the images are not crass or feel pornographic. The photos promote a feeling of intimacy and sensuality. A gesture not usually seen in fashion campaigns and an industry that has traditionally been rooted in the “sex sells” mantra of advertising.

For the most recent gig, Eckhaus Latta recruited Korean photographer Heji Shin. Shin, who now splits her time between Berlin and New York, excels at edgy fashion editorials. One of her most recent projects was “a German sex education book for teenagers”, she told NBC.

The engagement of a female photographer also appears to be a strategic move that helps shift the hetero male gaze most high-fashion campaigns have traditionally been seen through.

There is no overtly sexual or irreverent undertones to the images, like the ones we’ve become accustomed to since the advent of Terry Richardson-types and social media.

There is no simulation of images usually seen on PornHub or, say, that 2007 Dolce & Gabbana poster which many believed simulated “gang rape”.

Rather, Eckhaus Latta’s campaign celebrates (consensual) sexual expression.

It follows another groundbreaking moment in fashion this year, with the Vogue Paris casting transgender model Valentina Sampaio. 

The French edition of the fashion monthly bible was the country’s first magazine to feature a transgender model on its cover.

Both occurrences, as well as more diversity on catwalks across the world, including Melbourne, is a sign that fashion is taking another step closer to becoming less constrained than an Alex Perry corset.

Eckhaus Latta were approached for comment.

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