“Captivated” – Craig McDean and David James portray the new Mercedes-Benz CLS with Karolina Kurkova

Mercedes-Benz is actively involved in fashion events in 30 countries on every continent. In addition to establish fashion weeks in Berlin, New York (up-coming from February 10th to 17th, 2011), London, Milan, Paris, the German luxury brand is also present at exclusive fashion events in several other major international cities including Mexico City, Stockholm, Beijing and Buenos Aires.

The Mercedes-Benz commitment to fashion in berlin is again a resounding success – Mercedes-Benz can look back on a successful title sponsorship of this season’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin. The highlight was the now traditional Fashion Night hosted by Mercedes-Benz and VOGUE in the Restaurant Borchardt, where a veritable who’s who of the fashion scene gathered for a creative get-together. Vice President Brand Communications Mercedes-Benz Cars, presented the fascinating new visual motif for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Another resounding hit was the “Made in Sweden” show presented by Mercedes-Benz as part of its growing commitment to fashion.

With its new “Captivated” key visual, Mercedes-Benz maintains their growing reputation for producting visionary fashion campaigns. The visual was launched at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin in January 2011. It is the latest in a series of creatives seasonal campaigns that combines fashion and automobile design in a unique style.

The Mercedes-Benz fashion campaign for the Autumn/Winter 2011 season is noble and dynamic in its contrasting monochromatic imagery. The acclaimed fashion photographer Craig McDean, in close collaboration with the British creative director David James, portrayed the new Mercedes-Benz CLS with supermodel Karolina Kurkova. True to the campaign’s theme, ‘Captivated’, the result is a spectacular fashion visual that will enchant the viewer with its beauty, dynamic and extravagance.

The key visual for Autumn/Winter 2011 fashion campaign by Mercedes-Benz is equally powerful with its interplay of dynamic form and sensuality. The backdrop consists of staggered mirror panels, with the CLS and Karolina Kurkova in a striking black ensemble positioned in the foreground. The visual carries the distinct mark of prime stylist Marie-Amélie Sauvé, who describes her own styles as “abstract sexy”. No colours are employed. Instead, the visual conveys its magical fascination through a dialogue of monochrome imagery.

“Transforming the dynamic, athletic design of the new CLS into a powerful yet feminine fashion image is the task that Craig McDean and David James were asked to approach. The photo motif perfectly translates the car’s design features into the visual language of fashion adopting the lines and surfaces of the CLS to create this final composition. Following the surreal interpretation of last season, we now enter a new avant-garde dimension with this campaign,” explains Andres Sundt Jensen, Vice President Brand Communication Mercedes-Benz Cars.

Craig McDean’s long standing passion for automobiles and his strong visual aesthetic made him a perfect candidate to shoot this particular key visual campaign. “When I look at a car, I’m initially obsessed with the design and its contours. They always hie a deeper meaning. In this case, I wanted to create a true fashion photograph. It shoudn’t portray the CLS statically as advertising photos often do. Instead, I wanted tu capture both the car and Karolina Kurkova in motion at the point of interaction.”

The Creative Team

Mercedes-Benz CLS

The new CLS embodies a cultivatesportiness. With the second generation of its popular four-door Coupé, Mercedes-Benz has succeeded in turning out a new edition with a captivating design and state-of-the-art technology. Immediately striking is the innovative front design with its long, sporty hood. Another key feature is the elegantly drawn proportions of the CLS silhouette that are enhanced by their dynamics and a new interplay of lines and surfaces. From the technical perspective, the CLS is more efficient and agile due to its lightweight construction and new electro-mechanical direct steering. High-performance LED headlights offer more visibility, and the car’s safety credentials are improved via new Advanced driver Assistance Systems.


Craig McDean

Photographer and filmmaker Craig McDean is renowned for his striking fashion photography and portraiture. The British artist, currently residing in New York, has photographed international campaigns for such brands as Dior, Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Armani, Estée Lauder and Calvin Klein. He is also a regular contributor to several publications, including American, British, French and Italian VOGUE, Interview and W Magazine. McDean’s work has been displayed in the Museum of Modern Art in New York and in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Moreover, he is a passionate motorist who has competed in drag races. His firs book, “I love Fast Cars” was published in 1969 in homage to the American drag racing scene.


Karolina Kurkova

Karolina Kurkova is presently one of the most popular top models in the business and in constant demand on the international catwalk, in fashion productions and for global advertising campaigns. Kurkova, who was born in the Czech Republic, was discovered by a model scout and received an exclusive contract with Prada/Miu Miu. She graced the cover of the American edition of VOGUE for the first time in February 2001. Her international career progressed exponentially from here. In the early years, she appeared on further 52 magazine covers. Kurkova lives in New York with her husband Archie Drury and their one-year-old son Tobin. She is committed to the welfare of children and is an ambassador of Free Arts, an organization that sponsors art programs for abused and neglected children.


David James

British art director David James initially generated industry attention through its work for Prada. He has implemented the brand’s campaign since 1997 and designs a lavish and exclusive invitation to their fashion shows every season. He is also Creative Director of AnOther Magazine and has developed highly regarded campaigns for Alexander McQueen and Christian Dior. James worked with photographers such as Trevor Key and Nick Knight, now, he has focused his work towards the movin image, often generating visuals for his advertising campaigns from existing film material. David James eschews public attention, declines requests for interviews and notoriously prefers to work in seclusion.


Marie-Amélie Sauvé

Stylist Marie-Amélie Sauvé is most recognised amongst the international fashion community for her work with French VOGUE and close realtionshipe with Balenciaga designer, Nicolas Ghesquiere. She began workin with VOGUE Editor-In-Chief Carine Roitfeld in 2011 and her unique style has since become a significant characteristic of this leading fashion title. Marie-Amélie Sauvé also works for Italian VOGUE, Vanity Fair, AnOther Magazine and the New York Times. She was the driving force behind the Europeen GAP collection and its campaign. Her styling work was equally distinctive in the 2008 Pirelli Calendar.

‘Captivated’ – Mercedes CLS Ad-Campaign 2011 with Karolina Kurkova


Editorial by ANDREA JANKE

Follow Andrea by Twitter @andreajanke


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