Sorry Kids, No Perfume For You!

‘Sex sells’ is an advertising staple, but it seems as though this Tom Ford fragrance is just a little bit too sexy for some…

As we know, Tom Ford is known for racy advertising and has always been associated with sex appeal and the term ‘sex sells’, so frankly we weren’t surprised that the labels latest campaign for the fragrance ‘Black Orchid’ features a naked Cara Delevingne in a bath-tub – clutching a bottle of perfume. However, even to this particular designer’s standards, this is a first. Ford’s long-running campaign, which features Cara Delevingne, has been deemed inappropriate by the public and has been banned within 100 metres of any school in the United Kingdom.

The debacle began after the first ad appeared on a wide billboard on Brick Lane in East London. A vast majority of critics referred to it as “inappropriate” and “degrading to women”, which resulted in the ultimate ruling by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) that the images needed to be distanced from schools. Critics originally demanded that the campaign’s images be banned entirely, but the ASA disagreed, stating that “it was unlikely to cause serious offence and did not degrade/objectify women”.

The billboard that started it all in East London. Photo Credit: BlowUp Media UK.

Because the ad was not deemed sexually explicit, the only requirement was that the ad could not be visible within 100 metres of any school.

The campaign image displays a naked model partially submerged in a bath of orchids, clutching a bottle of perfume and has been featured in numerous print magazines. Even though she is completely nude, naturally the designer defended his campaign by describing the advert as “sensual, not sexual.’

Designer Tom Ford stated that:

“That neither her pose nor facial expression were sexually suggestive and were classical in nature… depicted in art.”

Picture courtesy of Tom Ford Beauty.


A Tom Ford beauty spokesperson argued that this campaign was displayed in a “hip urban neighbourhood in which commercial advertising of a similar artistic aesthetic was common.”

This is definitely not the first time a high-fashion designer has enlisted a model to strip down for a photo shoot; Tom Ford has made a name for himself with hyper-sexual advertising because these types of risky adverts are the ones that make a statement and get people talking. Like it or not, it has to be admitted that Cara Delevingne sure is killin’ it with those Ophelia vibes in this particular Ford campaign.