Gap Khakis In Swing Dance

Gap, the USA-based clothing retail store, promoted their Khaki line of clothes with a visual-effect-laden revival of swing music and dance. Gap – Khakis Swing, a 1998 television commercial, introduced much of the world to what became known as ‘Bullet Time’. The 30 second ad featured khaki trousers-wearing dancers doing the lindy hop, the 1920s Harlem dance that inspired the Swing Era, with its jitterbug or swing moves.

Dancers in Gap Khakis TV Ad


Credits

“Khaki Swing” was created by Gap‘s in-house team, led by creative director Lisa Prisco, art director Carl Byrd, account director Hillary Rush and agency producer Leigh Donaldson.

Filming was shot by director Matthew Rolston, Venus Entertainment/HSI Productions, with director of photography Marco Mazzei, and editor Dustin Robertson.

Visual Effects company BUF Compagnie used digital photogrammetry – morphing between two still photographs – to give us the effect of a freeze frame camera swing around suspended dancers.

Matthew Rolston first gained fame as a still photographer, shooting beauty and fashion layouts for high-profile magazines such as Harpers Bazaar, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, Interview, W, and Details. In addition to his magazine work, print and television ads, he now directs award-winning music videos for such artists as Jewel, Morrisey, Salt-N-Pepa, En Vogue, and Marilyn Manson.

Music for The Gap Khaki Swing comes from Louis Prima‘s swing number, “Jump, Jive an’ Wail”.

Baby baby it looks like its gonna hail
Baby baby it looks like its gonna hail
You better come inside and lemme teach ya how to jive and wail
Oh, you gotta Jump n’ Jivin
then you really gotta jump n’ Jivin
then you really gotta jump n’ Jivin
then you really gotta jump n’ Jivin
then you really gotta jump n’ Jivin
then you went away
(Sax solo)

The Gap Khaki Swing ad sparked off a revival of swing dancing in the United States and inspired a continuing series of Khakis dance-based commercials: Mike Mills’ five West Side Story Khaki Ads (Directors Bureau), Roman Coppola’s Khaki Groove (Directors Bureau), Josh & Jonah Pate’s Khaki Rock (Villians), Hype Williams’ Khaki Soul (RSA Films).

Click on the image below to play the Khaki Country video in YouTube (HD)

Click on the image below to play the Khaki Soul video in YouTube (HD)

Click on the image below to play the khaki Rock video in YouTube (HD)

  • LittleKatie

    Hey, thanks for quoting me!
    I watched the video and you’re right, there is some Matrix reference in there. I’ll have to bring that up in my next blog!

  • http://www.scottchantler.com Scott Chantler

    That’s Louis Prima singing in the ad, not Setzer.

  • http://www.swingdancevegas.com K Foster

    The commercial did not spark off the revival of the swing movement, that spark was already going. But it did add fuel to the flame!

  • Kathy H.

    But who are the dancers?