When we think about standout ad campaigns from previous years, we’re flooded with memories of fantastical imagery, often set in some utopian world with larger-than-life visuals that need giant billboards to shine. But 2020 was different — and the fashion spots reflect that.
Over the last 12 months, we’ve seen the traditional fashion campaign be, for the most part, stripped of the dramatic frills that brands historically overspent on, with the goal of selling, say, bags and shoes. Instead, we got pictures of people at home, with the best kind of extras: their tight-knit quarantine circle, often family and friends.
Simon Porte Jacquemus traded his impressive roster of it-girls for his grandma, who he captured in a pink power suit for the Parisian label’s summer campaign. Joseph Altuzarra enlisted women in his life to be the faces of his Fall 2020 collection. Coach stuck with its celebrity ambassadors for its newly-released holiday campaign, but made it a family affair, starring their parents and children. Others used their work family as muses, bringing employees who typically stay behind the scenes into the spotlight.
There were also luxury labels who adapted to and followed Covid-19 restrictions by having talent stage photo shoots at home — like how Balenciaga let Cardi B‘s team photograph and style the rapper in California for its winter ad.
Of course, there were a handful of campaigns that came out this year that were created pre-lockdown and, funnily enough, now feel other-worldy, with their perfect professional lighting, retouching and other visual details that are only possible when you have a large team of creatives behind the camera. For example, Gucci‘s latest men’s tailoring campaign — which was captured in February — is set in an L.A. mansion, with A$AP Rocky, Tyler, The Creator and Iggy Pop in the kitchen around a table of spaghetti. (The scene does feel somewhat relatable, in a year that consisted of bountiful plates of home-cooked meals. Except, you know, maybe with less music legends.)
Ahead, we’ve rounded up the most memorable ads from 2020, which you can browse in the gallery below.