New D&G Madonna Ads: Another Shot in the War Over How Much Photoshop Is Too Much

Last Updated May 3, 2010 12:37 PM EDT

Madonna shot a new ad campaign for Dolce & Gabbana's fall 2010 collection a few days ago and fashion blogs are abuzz -- but not about the clothes. They're speculating on how heavily airbrushed the 51-year-old singer will be in the ads when they appear.

Normally we could brush this off as the usual trivia that obsesses the apparel business but this time D&G could be sailing into a choppy PR waters: Consumers are rebelling against unrealistically photoshopped images of models in fashion advertising, and going au naturel is in.

The trend broke through when Ralph Lauren became the subject of international scorn for producing ads in which the models were edited to look like bobble-head dolls. Demi Moore later received some unwanted attention when Ashton Kutcher posted on Twitter an unretouched picture of his wife that was similar to the image she shot for Helena Rubenstein. The ad appeared to be more a product of computer trickery than Moore's actual beauty. In a masterstroke, Britney Spears then released before-and-after pics of her shoot for Candie's, which clearly showed consumers the difference between the real and the false.

Until now, Madonna's ads have all been heavily photoshopped. In a 2009-2010 campaign for Louis Vuitton she was virtually unrecognizable. In the image gallery below, you can see that this handsome middle-aged woman seems not to have aged, vampire-like, since she was 35. The problem is compounded by the suspicion that Madonna has had cosmetic surgery, which means that it will be difficult to tell what's real and what's not in the final ads.

If the ads are too fake, you can be sure that the tabloids will splutter with glee. Of course, D&G might be hoping for just that. This is a company that likes annoying people. It has published not one but two gang rape themed ads.