Thursday, May 10, 2007
The Old School: "That Formfit Look"
During all those years Pete Hawley was wowing us with his singularly unique take on illustrating women's undergarments for Jantzen's long-running series of ads, the folks at Formfit chose a more old school approach.
Formfit's ads, which ran in most of the women's magazines (and, for some reason, in the general interest digest publication, Coronet) utilized the skills of a variety of illustrators -- but the look of all their ads closely resembled a lot of the pinup art of the day.
I'm not well versed in the subtleties of individual pinup artist's styles so take this with a grain of salt but among varying degrees of skill displayed in the anonymous Formfit illustrations the really top-notch ones look to me like they could have been done by Gil Elvgren or Joyce Ballentyne.
Having spent so many years in advertising, I find Formfit's marketing strategy really intriquing... it seems to be implying a sexually suggestive message while attempting to conform to the acceptable standards of that sexually repressed era.
Otherwise why would Formfit choose to create ads that were so reminiscent of the pinups of the day? Were they attempting to appeal to their women customers or the husbands of those women? If it was the former, how often did 1950's women see pinup art? And if it was the latter, how often did 1950's men peruse their wive's magazines? Its a little difficult to fathom from the distance of a half a century and decades of more sexually liberal attitudes.
All these images plus several more have been added to my Pin-ups Flickr set.