Wednesday, February 14, 2007

dolce gabbana and the allegory of birth

The March 2007 issue of Elle Magazine features a couple of ads that work as utter embodiments of the driving sentiments fueling our obscene machine adventure. Ad 1, seen here, presents us with an odd, next-century allegory of birth worthy of Renaissance tapestries. Note the mannequin-esque makeover the human models are swathed in; note, as well, the parody of birth enacted with the lifted model's leg and her "human" issue in the glass box!

AD 1

Ad 2, below, is more vulgar and immediate--in it one sees something I have come to call eyegiene--a neologism, or manufactured word, that fuses the noun for the optic organ, with all its attendant semiotic intrigue, with the butt-end of the word hygiene, giene, signifier of all things septic and clean. The undecide-ability, the overdetermination, of the phallic signifiers (which is more cock-like, the camera as ersatz phallic "cock" or the cock as camera wanna-be) provides a drama worthy of Jekyll and Hyde.

To be frank, this is an illicit neologism, and I like it that way, guided more by the vagaries of homonymics, eyegiene sounds like hygiene, that any sophisticated philological conjuring!

AD 2


  1. Anonymous2:53 PM

    What has advertisments come to these days. The second ad has nothing to do with clothes. The women in the photo are not "real" women. Who looks like that? Honestlly. And the baby in the box, thats just weird and wrong. The ad has nothing to do with clothing, excpet for maybe the lavishly austere outfits the ladies chose to don.

  2. If you search the February 2007 issue of the same magazine, Dolce & Gabbana have a much more colorful and striking view of their Spring collection.
    Similar to creepy Ad 2, this ad has a bevy of leering girls again watching over, but not watching, the visual rape of a ready participant.
    (the ad is visible at:
    The victim (the same blond lasciviously leering at the camera in Ad 2) lays steady on a sterile table in a futuristic hub. She seems less in control of this ‘80s style orgy, but still as enthusiastic as before.
    I think it’s interesting how most, if not all of the Dolce & Gabbana Spring 2007 ads (including the D&G campaign) are even more homo- and heterosexual than usual.
    A blurring of the gender lines, or just a clever ad campaign?

  3. Anonymous11:45 PM

    Where is the ladder leading, the light coming in both ways, help! . Talk about eyegiene! A “next-century allegory of birth worthy of Renaissance tapestries,” ad 1 be under excessive influence of "classical" models! OED has classical, of the first "rank" or authority; constituting a standard or model; especially in literature. OED has rank, v. as 2. a. To arrange (things) in a row or rows; to set in line; "to put in order" [last emphasis likened with a suspensory ligament toward subjugation] b. To divide or "form" into ranks or classes. 3. a. To place, locate; to give a certain position or station to; to class or classify. With various "constructions". Uhoh, troublewhen o[e]ding the oed. Anyway, looking at those big eyes, or, lights? we gaze, and ad 1 gazes back, subjecting us to its authority, its dictum carrying the added weight/influence of a “mouth” (see bluelegs) being held open, (of course that mouth is signifying fully clothed). As a text, perhaps by submitting the viewer to its gaze, this hygienic-clinic also works with eyegienic [damn cool word] as well as the denotation of allegory, albeit in connotative ways: as a description of a subject under the guise of some other subject of aptly suggestive resemblance.

  4. Ashley Hart2:34 PM

    I subscribe to Elle and when I first saw this ad I stopped and stared at it, then went to show my friend. I didn’t even think about the connection it had with our class, but it still fascinated me. D&G has real life models posing like mannequins and this merge of the human and the facsimile it what I believe is striking about the ad. To our eye it is confusing because at first glance we do not know whether to identify the people in the ad as “real” or “fake.”

  5. Jenn Cunningham6:05 PM

    This advertisement (ad #1) did exactly what it was intended to do: It got the attention of an onlooker. Advertisements have turned more into an expression of art than a form of selling product.
    No, that ad does not make me want to go out and buy the latest D&G shoes or handbag, but it does entice my curiosity and ask questions such as "why is there a baby in that class case?," and "are those models or mannequins?"
    It is odd and very Obscene Machine-esque how D&G's ad have real people mimicking mannequins, which are originally intended to be a fake human.
    The stiff mannequin-like poses, alien eye makeup, and tin foil chapeaux try to cover up the human essence, but they aren't fooling anyone: their offspring pops out human with blonde hair and doe eyes. (Yes, I know that is not a real baby...which makes it even more interesting--People mimicking mannequins, which mimic people, who give birth to a "human" baby, which is really a mannequin mimicking a human..and now my head hurts.)
    As for the second ad, it has a voyeuristic-mannequin feel to it. Cameras, girls in oversized glasses wanting to make out, short mini-skirts, and high-heels......Almost reminds me of any bad Frat party I've been dragged along to....