It takes a delicate blend of technical skill and artistic sensibility to pull off a great lingerie photoshoot. Clichés are hard to avoid, critics will accuse you of shilling for fashion brands, and you’re always straddling the line between erotica and pornography.
Such challenges make the work of the world’s leading fashion photographers all the more impressive. And 2012 brought us some remarkably creative and courageous work from magazines, fotogs and models who collaborated to find new ways to celebrate the female form in various stages of undress.
We looked at hundreds of magazine editorials from 2012 that focused on lingerie fashions and chose the images below as a representative sample of this evolving artform. You’ll see some familiar names: the incomparable Ellen von Unwerth, Mert & Marcus, Greg Kadel; leading models like Karlie, Miranda, Constance (no surnames necessary!) and more; and some very exciting work from the pages of V Magazine, I-D, Schon, W, Numero as well as all the big books.
As for the lingerie, there’s a whole world of it in here; we’ll leave it to you to spot your favorite brands.
We’ve included a few items of commercial work not used in consumer magazines, but our list does not cover marketing campaigns by the brands themselves. Where possible, we’ve included both the model’s and photographer’s names.
Finally, if they gave out prizes for such things, the year’s crowning achievement for lingerie fashion editorials would have to go to the image above: Victoria Beckham in Elle mag, shot by Karl Lagerfeld on the mirrored staircase of Coco Chanel‘s Paris mansion. A once-in-a-lifetime moment and an instantly iconic image in a year filled with them.
There was a time when the surest way for a young celebrity to boost her media profile was to do a nude photospread in Playboy, regardless of what the parents and vicar might think. But these days, with print-based porn all but gone, what’s an aspiring starlet to do to keep her name — and figure — on the wagging tongues of media consumers?
The answer is the lingerie fashion photoshoot, an increasingly common way for young celebs to promote their latest projects and stay on the public radar.
Stripping down to your skivvies for a major magazine has become a bizarre rite of passage for today’s new generation of attention-seekers. And it’s one more sign that you’ve made it: as any publicity agent will tell you, exposure is everything in this game.
Overexposed and underdressed celebrities were everywhere in 2012, from the obvious (LiLo gunning for another comeback) to the unexpected (Kristen Stewart in Elle) to the surprisingly sweet (Rachel McAdams).
Here’s a gallery featuring 25 of the most memorable celebrity peelers of 2012, chosen from among hundreds out there. See if you can spot which ones are having fun, and which ones look like they’re hoping their parents won’t see this.
Some noteworthy items in our gallery: Esquire (and Photoshop) somehow turned Rihanna into a Caucasian bottle-blonde without inciting riots in Barbados (which might have been justified); country crooner Kellie Pickler claimed her Maxim shoot was done to support the troops (umm, okay); and identical twins Eva Longoria and Freida Pinto stripped down for competing mags.
Our favorite? We see a tie between the chameleon-like Nicole Kidman, who does another career rebound in a Deborah Marquit neon underwear set shot by Mario Testino for V magazine; and Sofia Vergara, who radiates so much joy you would adore her whatever she looked like. Lucky for us she’s also muy caliente.
To get us started, that’s Kim Kardashian above, in an utterly redundant — but gorgeous — new spread from Factice magazine.