Andy Nelson by Robert Mapplethorpe

Brand: Miguel Cruz
Year: Spring/Summer 1987
Models: Andy Nelson and ?
Ph: Robert Mapplethorpe



I found an online Vanity Fair article about Roberto Polo, the owner of the Miguel Cruz brand, it says something about the campaign :

In December 1985 he (Roberto Polo) purchased the fashion house of a designer named Miguel Cruz, a fellow Cuban whom he had met through Maria Felix. A second-echelon but respected designer with a faithful following, Cruz had been established in Rome since the 1960s. When he approached Polo to borrow money from him for his business, Polo is supposed to have said, “I don’t lend money. I’ll buy you.” Fashion had always been a business that fascinated him. Now it became the business that would destroy him.

From the beginning, Polo played an active part in advertising and promotion, hiring the models, flying them to New York to be photographed, even staging the fashion shows. Fashion experts say that the campaign didn’t work commercially, even if the photography was sometimes great.

Like so much about Roberto Polo, his advertising sent out mixed signals; there was confusion as to whether he was selling his wares or his models. He claimed that he would make the name of Miguel Cruz known through the shock value of the ads. “We’re living in a society that wants to be shocked,” he told one interviewer.

A Robert Mapplethorpe photograph for the Miguel Cruz men’s line showed the back of a seated naked man removing a sweater over his head. For the women’s line, a two-page ad showed a dimly lit female model in a black jeweled evening dress with one fully lit naked man behind her and another sitting on the floor in front of her.

It enraged Polo that while no one questioned the propriety of Calvin Klein’s massively nude advertising campaign, which was going on at the same time, his own campaign was labeled prurient and offensive. “They object to my ads but not to Calvin Klein’s.” The advertisement showing the bull’s-eye picture with the male rump may have offended one segment of the public, but a more lurid segment bombarded the New York office for copies of it.

Polo always knew more about everything than the experts. Soon he started directing Mapplethorpe’s photo sessions, and Mapplethorpe, a bit of a prima donna himself, resented the interference. Eventually there was a falling-out, and Mapplethorpe resigned the account. Not to be topped, Polo wrote the photographer a letter firing him, and sent copies to several prominent people in New York.



It seems that the famous 1987 Mapplethorpe serie of Thomas was photographed in the same place or even in the same photoshoot.

2 comments:

AngelLover said...

I didn't know he has done ads !!!

Very interesting !!

And very beautiful, as most of his work !!!!

Thank you Johec !!!

:o) :o) :o)

Johec said...

I admire his work a lot, sometimes it's really shocking, though. :-o

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