Summer 2020 Instagram Ad Campaign by Rebekah Campbell
Calvin Klein has released an Instagram ad campaign with photographs by Rebekah Campbell and styling by Thistle Brown, featuring model Lilian Sumner (plus the backside of an uncredited young man), shot on Avenue A in the East Village, New York. Unfiltered and raw, the images are stripped down to the barest essentials and effectively carry the torch for a type of NYC-based countercultural aesthetic that was once considered disruptive and edgy, and now (perhaps due to COVID) feels strangely comforting, as if the campaign were designed to reassure us that the youth culture of “the city” is still alive and well.
Campbell’s website describes her work as focused on “femininity” through the exploration of “individuality as well as the effects of natural states while escalating the intimate narrative.” This is the perfect description for these images, which feel both personal and provocative in a casually elevated sort of way. It’s as if someone bottled up the post-punk youthful energy of summertime in the city, distilled the emotions in a unique way that removed all the anxiety and angst, and then delivered what was left in the form of a relaxed anticipation that is soft and sweet. The hard edges have been smoothed out, yet the images still maintain a subtly subversive quality through the innuendo of a bitten cherry, a shadowy hand over a sleeping shoulder, and a white sheet dropped over the edge of a rooftop to cover up the New York City grime. Providing evidence that even a global pandemic cannot destroy the mating rituals of young bohemians in the city, these images make one yearn to be in a swimsuit with a glass of chilled wine at a friend’s “tar beach”… or perhaps to take a sunny afternoon nap in some comfy-yet-come-hither Calvins.
Photographer | Rebekah Campbell Model | Lilian Sumner Stylist | Thistle Brown Location | East Village, NYC