Balenciaga in embarrassment after two campaigns featuring children

The controversy, which has swelled on social networks for almost two weeks, is not new in the fashion world. In order to distinguish themselves, brands sometimes cross the limits of aesthetics and play with taboos. But Balenciaga’s last two campaigns have been so controversial that the French luxury house was forced to apologize and remove most of its images. She will also file a complaint.

At the origin of the scandal, a campaign for the spring-summer 2023 collection mixing children and sexually connoted accessories. One of the snaps showed a child holding a bag in the shape of a white teddy bear strapped with black belts. “Outfits that some have called BDSM-inspired”, or bondage, a sadomasochistic sexual practice, conceded Balenciaga on Monday November 28, making amends. The accessories “should not have been presented with children. It was a bad choice on the part of Balenciaga”who takes “sole responsibility”she added, several days after removing the photos.

But internet users also drew attention to another photo, for the spring-summer 2023 collection.. A bag resulting from a collaboration with Adidas is posed, in an office setting, on documents which are printed excerpts from a decision of the American Supreme Court on child pornography.

Kim Kardashian threatens to leave Balenciaga

“I’ve been silent for the past few days, not because I haven’t been disgusted and outraged by Balenciaga’s recent campaigns, but because I wanted the opportunity to talk to their team to understand for myself how it could happen”wrote on Sunday evening on his Twitter account Kim Kardashian, muse of the brand.

To her 74 million subscriber accounts on Twitter, the American influencer and businesswoman invested in cosmetics and lingerie, said to herself “shocked by [les] disturbing pictures » Balenciaga campaigns, “as a mother of four children”. She claims at the same time to have taken note of the apologies of the French house, and received her explanations. “I am reassessing my relationship with the brand, based on their willingness to accept responsibility for something that should never have happened – and the actions I expect of them to protect children »she added.

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The brand complains

On social networks, some have established a link between the two campaigns, seeing it as a deliberate desire by the brand to send an ambiguous message, which it defended itself on Monday: “We strongly condemn child abuse: it was never our intention to include it in our narrative. »

For this second incident, Balenciaga still takes “full responsibility for the lack of monitoring and control”. The brand also explains that it has “complained” before a New York court for “the inclusion of these non-validated documents, the result of irresponsible negligence”. She cites production house North Six and set designer Nicholas Des Jardins as the source of the most controversial photo, that of the bag placed on the legal documents evoking the laws on child pornography.

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The controversy falls badly for Balenciaga, who had already cut ties in October with rapper, producer, stylist and businessmen Kanye West, ex-husband of Kim Kardashian, after anti-Semitic slippages. Three weeks earlier, he had opened the Balenciaga fashion show in Paris in a mud setting.

The World with AFP

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