The sepia-toned, vintage look of the shot hints at another of Calvin Klein’s more controversial ads. In the mid-1990s, the brand released a commercial set in a ’70s-style, wood-paneled basement. From behind the camera, a man tells a young, shirtless man in cutoff shorts that he has “pretty blue eyes” and his shorts fit him really well. There were also print ads in the same style. Groups lined up to protest what became known as the “kiddie porn” campaign.

Let’s also not forget Kate Moss’s “heroin chic” ads for the brand, and in 1980, a 15-year-old Brooke Shields declaring, “What gets between me and my Calvins? Nothing.”

The new campaign includes some mild nudity, such as a so-called “belfie”—that’s a butt-selfie—and there’s a not-very-subtle reference to a vagina in an image with model Kendall Jenner. In the main shot, she’s holding up a grapefruit as she squeezes it, the fruit vaguely mimicking a vagina’s shape. If that wasn’t clear enough, in a small panel at the top-right of the mosaic beside it, one image has Jenner holding the grapefruit over her crotch.

Calvin Klein's grapefruit ad
Real subtle.
Image: Calvin Klein

Unlike the recent ad by Thinx, which makes “underwear for women with periods”—featuring a clean, peeled grapefruit to suggest that vaginas, even during a woman’s period, are natural—this ad casts the body part in a very different light. ”I     eat     in #mycalvins,” the text says.

For Calvin Klein, in the grand scheme of things, it’s pretty tame.

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