The Art of the Ad: Black Magic Women

As an artist, a student of art history, a graphic design nerd, a photography lover, and a guy who’s done his share of design and advertising work over the years, I am always intrigued by a good, eye-catching advertising campaign. Setting aside the often nefarious messages nesting within big business advertising—they’re selling you how to look, feel, and think, after all—I’m planning an occasional series highlighting ads that, for whatever reason, leave an impression. They’ll likely be short posts meant to highlight the art or photography.

The images below come from a 1998 ad campaign for high fashion UK brand Wallis called, appropriately, “Dressed to Kill” (I don’t know the photographer’s name). The recurring theme is simple, as old as time and as clichéd as it gets: these femme fatales are dressed to kill, as evidenced by the mens’ inability to focus on anything else when they lay eyes on them. Disaster awaits these poor saps. The top one is my favorite. Terrific visual concept, excellent execution, and would look great framed and hanging on the wall. It’s also pretty funny.

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