Media & Communication Department

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Kathryn Cassidy

High Fashion Faux Pas:

An Analysis of Ad Construction and Content

High fashion advertisements function in a variety of ways depending upon the audience. For some, they offer a template to achieve high class status. For others, they are a display of a unique cultural art form. But no matter what ideas we may have on what makes high fashion ads effective, their pervasive nature within contemporary Western society is undeniable. Thus, their content is important to explore, not only because of their omnipresence, but also due to the influential nature of advertising: It can and does affect the way in which people perceive reality. This paper aims to prove that high fashion ads are contradictory in nature, in that they project an image that women are supposed to embrace, linking femininity to fashion, yet the messages they convey are far from empowering. Furthermore, these ads often hide under the guise of high class art, yet express some of the most profane behavior and base human desire. Within this paper, exactly what messages are present, how they are conveyed and why these ads have been allowed to subsist without much public criticism is of particular interest.