Cadillac’s Fashion and Film Exhibit Celebrates Iconic Calvin Klein Ads

A tribute to famed photographer Richard Avedon

Headshot of Christine Birkner

Cadillac is continuing to align itself to the fashion and art worlds with a new exhibit that pays homage to fashion photographer Richard Avedon and explores the art of advertising, with behind-the-scenes looks at the iconic ads he shot for Chanel and Calvin Klein in the 1970s, '80s and '90s.

"Richard Avedon: Moving Image," which will be open to the public until Sept. 30, is the latest art exhibition at Cadillac House, a brand experience center on the ground floor of Cadillac's SoHo headquarters in New York, that's part art gallery, part coffee house and part fashion pop-up store. It's part of the brand's attempts to reinvent itself and lure younger drivers, who typically embrace art and fashion experiences.

"As a brand, we're laying the groundwork for Gen X and Gen Y for a product expansion, and our approach is to be more relevant to these audiences through culture, by focusing on fashion and art and bringing these experiences to them at Cadillac House," said Nathan Tan, associate director of brand partnerships and experiences for Cadillac.

The exhibit, held in partnership with art magazine Visionaire, celebrates Avedon, who died in 2004, and his 60-year tenure as a fashion photographer who worked with celebrities like Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn, and shot commercials for Calvin Klein and Chanel from the 1970s to the '90s—including the famous 1981 Calvin Klein Jeans ad starring Brooke Shields.

The exhibit features Avedon's casting interviews with 35 models for the '80s and '90s Calvin Klein Jeans ads, including Andie MacDowell, Shari Belafonte and Martha Plimpton; a 1996 series of CK Be perfume commercials with Kate Moss and James King; 1972 Chanel No. 5 ads with Catherine Deneuve and short films from 1973 for Japanese apparel brand Jun Ropé with actresses Lauren Hutton and Anjelica Huston.

The exhibit is also a great way for Cadillac to align itself with New York Fashion Week, which starts this week, Tan added. "It's great for us to exhibit this amazing work by Richard Avedon that's never been exhibited before. We wanted to be an engaged corporate citizen during fashion week and add substance and value to the week."

@ChristineBirkne Christine Birkner is a Chicago-based freelance writer who covers marketing and advertising.