In 1988, fresh off his success with Blue Velvet and just before he started production on his landmark TV series Twin Peaks, he made his first commercials — a quartet of advertisements for Calvin Klein’s perfume Obsession featuring passages from such literary titans as F. Scott Fitzgerald, D.H. Lawrence and Ernest Hemingway. (Lynch’s ad featuring Gustave Flaubert is mysteriously unavailable on Youtube.)
The commercials have all the pretension, the luscious black and white photography and the vacant-eyed beautiful people that you might expect from a Calvin Klein ad. Yet they also show glimmers of Lynch’s aesthetic – a noirish, dream-like tone, an oddly framed close up, a fondness for flashing lights. Lynch dialed down the weird to serve the text. The result is far more romantic and beautiful than you might expect from the director.
The Fitzgerald ad is featured above. Watch the rest here.