|Passion between fellows in Bruce Weber's sizzling film!|
Screenshot from Other Sports Require One Ball. Wrestling Requires Two.
Owned by Bruce Weber | Used here for illustrative purposes only | (image source)
All those industry reporters have it all wrong and are fueling a misunderstanding. There's nothing wrong with some good ole guy love, but that kiss was never a part of A&F's marketing. We here at The Sitch on Fitch know better...
Sometime in late-2011, our favorite photographer Bruce Weber shot video footage for Abercrombie & Fitch of guys wearing exclusively A&F athletic sweat shorts and engaging in athletic activities – primarily wrestling. The Company was at that time preparing its Spring 2012 marketing campaign. A short portion of that footage was used for a small marketing campaign – 'THE MAIN EVENT' – designed to promote the opening of the Abercrombie & Fitch flagship store in Singapore. That video for THE MAIN EVENT – no kissing, only men wrestling – began screening on December 9 on a giant video screen at the top of the Knightsbridge shopping complex 270 Orchard Road where the A&F flagship is located.
It wasn't until February 8 when the Abercrombie & Fitch Spring 2012 marketing campaign was finally released. With it, three short promotional lifestyle films were made available on abercrombie.com under its 'Experience A&F' online feature. Select footage from Weber's original work was chosen for use in the creation of those three films and edited for the A&F Spring 2012 marketing campaign. Only the content of those three films made the final cut to officially be a part of the Spring 2012 marketing campaign...nothing else. (Those three films were removed in late-March as the Summer fashion season was brought in: the three are no longer available at 'Experience A&F' on abercrombie.com).
On February 9, a day after the launch of the A&F Spring 2012 marketing, the official Bruce Weber Facebook page posted, "4 NEW WEB FILMS BY BRUCE WEBER FOR ABERCROMBIE & FITCH now streaming at http://www.bruceweber.com/#/moving_image/webersodes." The four short films are available for viewing under the 'Webersodes' label of bruceweber.com.
- Basketball is What Men Do During Boys Baseball Season (watch it here) is the only one which is actually a very similar edit as the first film shown on abercrombie.com – same music, scenes, etc – but it is nevertheless a version for bruceweber.com as it includes the title card "Basketball is What Men Do During Boys Baseball Season" and does not include the A&F logo – none of the films on bruceweber.com have A&F logo.
- The film Everthing Else in Life Seems Easy after Wrestling (watch it here) features guys in water and is also a similar edit to the second film shown on abercrombie.com, but it also includes some footage which was not in the A&F version. Furthermore, the film features a completely different soundtrack.
- The film Live, Eat, and Sleep Wrestling (watch it here) is completely different from the third film shown on abercrombie.com, but footage from it was used in the third A&F film. Also, this Bruce Weber cut features monologue of a young wrestler.
So where the hell is the guy-on-guy kiss? Come in, part 4!
The fourth part of this series of films on bruceweber.com is titled Other Sports Require One Ball. Wrestling Requires Two. (Watch it here) ...Homoeroticism gets its game on! Heated, it all plays up in the shower, wet and intense, to the beat of Give It Up Or Turn It Loose by James Brown. The film is really hot, but it is more so a great capture of the beautiful male form in various expressions. Let it be known that an appreciation for the male form can be totally different from actually being attracted to it. Whether you can just appreciate it or are actually attracted to it depends on you and your artistic sensibilities, open-mind, and preferences. Anyway, the highlight of this film comes – no pun intended! – at 1 minute 20 seconds in: bro grabs another bro and plants a passionate kiss on his forehead!
Those other media reporters are calling it a "gay kiss." We will just call this a "guy-on-guy" kiss because to call it "gay" is ignorant. Sam kisses Frodo on the forehead in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King...both of 'em aren't gay! It's a kiss of deep, emotional friendship. We should also know that in respect to Weber's work, male camaraderie place a preeminent role even when it borders homoeroticism. And it's a beautiful thing. Call it whatever you want, interpret it as you wish, but we'll just remain neutral.
All four films are Bruce Weber's work for Abercrombie & Fitch as presented on bruceweber.com. They are Weber's work for A&F, but are not Abercrombie & Fitch marketing films. Rather, they are the photographer's cut of his original work and include footage unused by Abercrombie & Fitch.
The funny thing is that those four Bruce Weber videos have been on his site since February! And people are just now talking about it?! LOL.
It was indeed initially taken to be intentionally gay and to be by A&F. For example, the blog Queerty stated:
"Between the gay dance anthems playing in the store and vintage-porn-looking hunks modeling barely-there clothes in ads, Abercrombie’s marketing strategy has always been super-gay. But though their ads ooze homoerotic pyrotechnics, they’ve never actually gone and shown us the full monty, the real act of affection between two hot dudes. Until now."
Many reporters have not corrected their claims of the kiss being a part of A&F marketing.
Some have. Shophound.com actually called headquarters and was the first to clear that it was not A&F marketing. Honestly, though, that was a given if you actually paid attention to the official A&F Spring 2012 marketing campaign. Poor Shophound seems to be unaware that A&F released its three official films on abercrombie.com and Shophound still doesn't have a clue as to what is on bruceweber.com. Well, its just the photographer's cuts of his own work for A&F. It's as simple as that.
Other industry reporters keep on playing the gay card by stating that, by not including the kiss, Abercrombie & Fitch is not read to come out of its "glass closet." Racked.com furthers this insinuation by saying that, "So for the time being, it looks like A&F will just continue to nod and wink at its customers." But those reporters are just so ignorant. As Mike Jeffries told journalist Benoit Denizet-Lewis, back in 2004, about A&F's image, "...it's not gay, and it's not straight [...] It's all depicting this wonderful camaraderie, friendship, and playfulness that exist in this generation and, candidly, does not exist in the older generation."
Still, though, had A&F included that kiss...it would have been very admirable, bold, and pioneering in its part...
P.S. The fourth Bruce Weber film was uploaded onto YouTube, but it has since been removed. The film is exclusively available at bruceweber.com (here).
|Removal notice of part four from YouTube.|