Equinox Defends Their Controversial Ad Campaign Shot By Terry Richardson.

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, Huff Post 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

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.

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."

Shorts Story

"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."

Puppy Love

"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."

Happy Endings

"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:

terry richardson


JCincotta said...

Interesting, if one likes Giacometti's with lipstick.

...Do the folks who choose these shots actually enjoy loving women? Really?


Anonymous said...

This is some of the silliest, most contrived and uninspiring photography I've ever seen--even for the fashion world. I laughed my way through the descriptions of the shoot, especially where they likened it to high art. I was embarrassed for them, really.
Then there's the issue of anorexic women promoting a gym . . . are they using the equipment at all, or just using the lavatories to purge themselves of lunch?

Anonymous said...

Pictures of uncle Terry's insecure starving drug addicted sexual play things. Chicken legs anyone?

Anonymous said...

They aren't anorexic. You say love your body, but harp on all the thin girls. It's not their fault they are naturally tall and thin. I love my bones, but I do not starve myself. True, this campaign is controversial, and using thinner models may not have been smart, but the comments about these women being anorexic are unnecessary. Love your body the way you want it, not how others tell you it should be. Whether it be bones or extra curves, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

FASHIFY said...

My name is Aristotle Olay. I live in Miami Beach.

I find it interesting how the anonymous people have the most negative comments on this post. I wonder who they are to critique these campaigns, or Terry's work. First off, despite whether or not Terry Richardson is genius photographer... I'll tell you one thing... he's f-ing smart.

Do you haters even know where an Equinox gym is located. There's one in the heart of South Beach near 5th Street and Collins Avenue

I actually considered joining the other day after seeing their ads over and over again for the past year on bustops and directory stands across the city. I wouldn't have even noticed them if not for the ads (that's the whole point right?). People in this city look good, so you have to have ads, that show people that look even better in order to get our attention.

I imagine Terry wanted to give the client just a lot of bang for their buck. Advertising is really expensive in Miami Beach, don't believe me, try launching a Google Ad campaign targeted to just Miami Beach for any key word and notice the price difference between that and maybe Tallahassee, Florida.

I'd have more respect for your negative criticism if you anonymous people had something to back up where you're coming from.

This site should start using Facebook comments to keep out the trolls.

tina le said...

""Much of the credit goes to Ms. Kosoy, who leads a team of 10 designers in Equinox’s headquarters in the Flatiron district, where they create a brand image that marries sex and sweat, wellness and bad behavior. “It’s not fitness,” the tagline reads, “it’s life.” ""

“I never work out,” Ms. Kosoy said. “I think fitness is a fraud. That’s why I try to make it look like fashion.”

Equinox's creative director ( Bianca Kosoy) is so out of touch. It's so very telling that she NEVER works out. The newest Terry Richardson ad campaign is such a turn off and so counter intuitive to why we women work out. Not to live imaginary lives as she might in her own fantasies, but to be truly present in our real lives where we work hard and sweat a lot and go home to our real husbands, real children, real homes and are supported by real friends.

Sure some campaigns that go over in LA and NYC may not go over well in the SF bay area where I live, but I am outraged that Equinox would choose to listen to this woman's vision that is so out of touch with what a majority of intelligent, reasonably minded women with daughters and sons would have them believe about their bodies and their lives. That sex and working out are not one in the same. That we shouldn't have to hide the computer screen when an Equinox ad pops up because it is TOO RISQUE and indecent. Those ads do not depict the masses of fitness fanatics I know and they are beyond insulting!!!

C'mon people, it's only a dollar.