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Fashion's obsession with horses

A powerful and elegant protagonists in some of the most famous fashion campaigns

Fashion's obsession with horses A powerful and elegant protagonists in some of the most famous fashion campaigns

The horse has an explosive power, a complex physicality, inspires fear and respect, as well as the authority to instill silence in people, thanks to its elegance and unpredictability, an effigy of a class that also in motion does not break down, leaves no room for confusion and impatience. Fashion needs to transmit these same values, which is why in this year and in the past the horses have become the subject of many campaigns, shot in a static or in the most explosive moment. Fashion needs to guarantee respect and to transmit a concrete and reflective self-image, nearly emerged with the force of the act. The symbolic dialogue between the clothes and this animal is strong, a strange relationship exploited by fashion advertisement



Over the last few years it is evident the return of the country aesthetic, emblematic in the spread of the country boots, which can explain the choices adopted in the last year for many advertising campaigns, set in a ranch - as in the case of the shots of the Kardashian sisters for Calvin Klein - but also in prairies and in other wild landscapes, representative of that world. For some fashion houses, the horse is the symbol of the brand, a tradition to pursue, such as Hermès, a Maison born for the production of saddles and equestrian equipment. In some cases, the horse is the logo, for example, Burberry, with a knight riding the animal with a banner, a medieval version. Finally, there are those who adopt it as a motif to honor their founder, as happens with Dior, in fact, we know the passion that Monsieur Dior had for these animals. In the latest Cruise Collection 2019 designed by the Artistic Director Maria Grazia Chiuri, the models perform in what was literally a rodeo, with a strong Hispanic atmosphere. In the advertising campaign is instead Jennifer Lawrence to pose with a black horse, which is hidden between white walls, provoking a sense of surreal calm and a series of beautiful shots.

Since two years Gucci has been collaborating, for the realization of his campaigns, with the Spanish illustrator Ignasi Monreal, who drew a black horse - the favourite colour -, placing it in a dystopian landscape, in which the knight with the gold armour looks at his cell phone. Also for its SS20 Retro collection campaign, Gucci has chosen as protagonists a series of real horses, portrayed by director Yorgos Lanthimos in the most different locations of Los Angeles: on the beach, in a hotel, in a pool, even on an aeroplane. The animal returns in front of the lens as the symbol of freedom that was the main topic of the latest show of the Italian fashion house. 

Returning to Burberry, Tisci recently decided to exploit the contrast between a huge black horse and the delicacy of the new The Burberry Alphabet jewellery line. If you have noticed that one of the current trends is the Fisherman Hat, a specialized brand is Ruslan Baginskiy, who shot its Resort 2019 Collection in a savannah, with horses and zebras. 

Not only the high fashion brands have made this stylistic choice. The streetwear enthusiasts eyes will undoubtedly remember the recent collaboration between Ralph Lauren and Palace, which has used a horse, which jumps over a racing car, representing the contrast of style present between the two brands. As for Gucci, in the SS18 collection, the Belgian brand Y/Project also used a beautiful white horse, ridden by a model in a pink jacket. However, one of the campaigns that best expresses the ambiguity that characterizes the equine is the G-Star RAW one, which immerses the animal in a context totally different from the others cases: in a city, while it walks under bridges, among BMX and motorcycles.



In the history of fashion, the horses were part of the wide western or country theme, and in part, this link has remained, as in the SS17 Versace campaign, that is focused around the relationship between models and horses. In recent years, however, the connections that seemed logical have been distorted, preferring to include the animal and all its symbolic meanings in evocative place or in less obvious settings. Just think about the chromatic power of the Louis Vuitton SS16 campaign, with a black horse inserted in a flamboyant pink architecture, creating, together with Lea Seidoux, a very strong scenic effect, as well as with another star like Kendall, who chases a horse in the video for the 70 years of Longchamp. There are many brands and interpretations, Chloè, Loewe, and a beautiful black horse also for the gothic Alexander McQueen style.

Two of the greatest fashion photographers in recent years such as Oliviero Toscani and Mario Testino are connected by a large number of shots that involve horses. Toscani made them famous in one of his scandalous shots for Benetton, catching the mating moment. Testino used them much more often, above all for foreign editorials, rarely Testino uses static horses, usually, his horses are photographed dynamic, in a simple trotting walk, galloping or even during a jump. Symbolism, silhouette and power, the best way to describe both fashion and horses.