Designer Balenciaga Apologizes For ‘Child Abuse’ Ads

Views: 20
Read Time:1 Minute, 59 Second

In an interview with Vogue, Demna, the creative director of Balenciaga, apologized for an ad campaign that appeared to reference child abuse and vowed to abandon his provocative showmanship.

The ads, which were released late last year, depicted children holding bags resembling teddy bears but with studs and harnesses and surrounded by adult items such as wine glasses.

It sparked widespread outrage online, including from celebrities close to Demna and the brand, including Kim Kardashian.

Demna (who dropped his last name in 2021) told the fashion bible in his first published interview since the scandal that he never intended to mention abuse.

“I’ve seen a lot of drama in my life, but this was especially difficult… “It was a learning experience,” he said in the interview, which was published late Thursday.

“I understand that my work has been perceived as provocative, but this particular situation would never be part of my, you know, provocative nature,” he added.

Demna told Vogue that the bears were a punk reference, not a reference to BDSM.

But he couldn’t explain the props in another series of photos, which included a printout from a US Supreme Court ruling on child pornography.

When the controversy erupted, Balenciaga announced that it would sue the company that shot the campaign.

“What I can categorically state is that neither I nor Balenciaga intended it. “I’m not sure if it was intentional by someone else,” Demna said.

The Georgian designer said the incident had fundamentally changed his way of working, which had frequently involved high-profile celebrity endorsements and stunt promotions, such as a $1,800 trash bag line.

“I will have to question absolutely everything now. It really changes my way of working, which was previously more instinctive; doing something potentially provocative just because I was thinking, Oh, that’s fun,” he said.

His next show, at Paris Fashion Week next month, will be a low-key affair focused solely on the clothes.

“I’ve decided to return to my roots in fashion, as well as to the roots of Balenciaga, which are quality clothes rather than image or buzz.”

He did not address the other recent controversy surrounding his ties with Kanye West, who walked out into a mud-filled hangar to open Balenciaga’s last show in Paris.

Balenciaga severed all ties with the rapper following a string of controversial comments, including an anti-Semitic outburst.