You may or many not have read the glut of recent articles highlighting the controversy over the “skinny” models in the latest ad campaign for Equinox Fitness Clubs shot by photographer Terry Richardson. According to Fashionista, HuffPo and plenty of other blogs, gym goers expressed disappointment in the ‘thin’ physiques displayed in the ads.
above: the exterior of the Equinox gym in Beverly Hills, California
Terry Richardson for Equinox
The campaign was meant to illustrate the connection between fitness and fashion, but comments and criticism on Facebook and other sites allude to the fact that some might prefer fit and healthy looking models as opposed to runway thin models in the ads.
The gym chain has since responded, defending not only Richardson’s photos but their “deliberate” decision to run with them. Women’s Wear Daily reports that the chain disagrees with the mob of gym goers who stormed the Equinox Facebook page with comments demanding that the women featured in the ads look fit and healthy, instead of runway thin. Equinox’s executive creative director Bianca Kosoy told the paper:
“Our campaigns exist at the intersection between fitness and fashion; they are intended to be thought provoking and to generate discussion through their deliberate synthesis of personal motivation and high fashion photography.”
Frankly, the controversy regarding this continuation of the campaign shot for the chain of gyms by Terry Richardson is most likely more attention than the campaign warrants given that there’s nothing extra interesting, compelling or memorable about the ad campaign.
Below are 12 ads shown from the campaign and the inside scoop behind 9 of the shots, straight from the set, from Executive Creative Director Bianca Kosoy. Following those are images of an earlier campaign for Equinox, also photographed by Terry Richardson.
Don’t Let Them Eat Cake
“This obscenely expensive cake that we meticulously designed for this shot almost didn’t make it. When the delivery guy showed up, someone directed him to Craft Services and it was about to get sliced for dessert. As you know, you can’t have your cake and eat it too.”
“Believe it or not, this was one of the hardest shots to style, wardrobe-wise. We kept trying on different combinations of collegiate socks, ties, boxers and underwear to get the perfect blend of preppy and sexy. We wanted them to look hot, but not over the top. I mean, we are promoting higher education here.”
Frankie Says Relax
“Terry’s signature style inherently dials up the sex factor — each shot is like foreplay. The idea behind this shot was that the couple was recuperating after sex, so I had to keep reminding Terry that we were going for a ‘post-coital’ feel. He just started yelling, ‘Post-coital! Post-coital!’ with every pop of the flash! Everyone on set was cracking up.”
Sunshine and Rain
“This was the first shot of the day, and it was raining and the weather was just supposed to get worse. We had tents set up and people holding umbrellas over us. The styling, props and location were so flawless and the models were having a blast, so the shot came together quickly. Let’s just say we weren’t going to let it rain on our parade.”
Little Man on Campus
“Little Giuseppe was on set all day because we had to get all the outdoor shots done. He made the best of it flirting with the models and asking his mom if he could take a puppy home. Once he finally got on set he and Terry had this great banter about how much more time he had left. He was a total pro.”
Searching High and Low
“The whole idea of the shoot was to create a real highbrow, secret society feel, but when it came down to finding most of the props, like the trophy in this shot, they ranged from actual museum pieces to random garage sale finds from upstate New York. It’s the perfect intersection of highbrow and low art.”
“These French bulldog puppies had a bigger entourage than Terry: a breeder, a trainer and a handler. I couldn’t believe how well-behaved they were. I actually almost went home with one, but I decided getting a new puppy in the middle of a campaign launch probably wasn’t the best idea. Too bad. I was going to name him T-bone — in honor of Terry.”
“This was the wrap shot. It just instantly came together. The stylists and hair and makeup team were all done, and everyone sat on the grand staircase in the foyer enjoying the view and watching Terry do his thing. This is what I call a happy ending.”
Earlier ads in the “By Equinox” campaign shot by Terry Richardson: