Thursday, October 4

Bella Figura: whose taste anyway?

Who doesn't remember those scenes from Cinema Paradiso with the censors devouring every last kiss just before letting them fall to the cutting room floor? While I've been in Milan, there has been a fiery debate surrounding a new ad campaign by the controversial visual artist, Olivero Toscani. This time, his images of a naked anorexic woman, just in time for all of the other quasi-naked anorexics to descend on Milan's fashion runways, was deemed by the powers that be, to push that very slim envelope one gram too far. Now, let's make one thing clear: I personally can't stand Toscani's 'work' for Benetton, because I find showing people suffering from AIDS or drugs or what have you an extremely bizarre way to sell sweaters. If he had produced these images for a Benetton Foundation for AIDS victims or a NO-L-ITA foundation against anorexia, that's one thing. But no, he just slaps up the images, walks away, and lets everyone discuss what he's up to. The Companies which allow him to do such work should, in the very least, take their logos off the ads.

Nonetheless, the ad campaign was pulled by Milan's (female) Mayor Moratti. I guess it offended just one too many tax-paying fashionista; and considering they'd rather show us pre-teens in every sort of erotic position, clothed or otherwise, I guess maybe the model just wasn't the Bella Figura the Milanese like to be associated with.

It brings to mind my very favourite ad that was ever run, by Diego della Palma makeup studio for their tanning products. It was so hot, I swear when that ad came out one sweltering day in August 1985 (I will never forget the day), the temperature went up about 12 more degrees. Showing not nearly enough nudity as any given ad on any given day using women, I think the concerned censors just thought that it was too too titillating for us women, and, allah forbid, we could never let the ladies have their fair share of it, too. So, before the fragile wives could return from their beach vacations, down the posters went (but I still have a copy).

In a country which uses naked women to sell everything from socks to SUVs, I have never since seen any ad showing a butt-naked man. But I'm hoping that, despite her censor-happy hand, maybe our Mayor will start to give equal coverage for both parties. But the future looks bleak.
To see the ad in question, go to:
Click WELCOME then COMPANY then COMMUNICATIONS followed by WHAT HAS IT BEEN LIKE has been good, but a taste of honey's worse than none at all...


Anonymous said...

now, what if the model had been morbdly overweight---wonder if the mayor would have pulled it??

although very hard and sad to look at, i think the billboards should stay up. it's about awareness.

the billboard next to nolita could show the the exact same model but clothed---and we are none the wiser . . .

Anonymous said...

wow! i don't remember ever seeing that advert.

btw, it is

Anonymous said...

Well, it's gotten you to write/talk about, hasn't it? So it's working. Also, the woman in the photo is not a model; she is a French-born actress.

Hey, I remember you trying to get me to steal one of those diego dalla palma ads in 1985! ha.