Last Updated: February 14, 2023, 08:30 IST
Luxury brand Balenciaga created a huge controversy after a series of its ad campaigns featuring children. After over two long months of radio silence, the fashion house’s creative director, Demna Gvasalia, has finally spoken out about the problematic advertisements.
Apart from a statement on social media, saying, “I want to personally apologise for the wrong artistic choice of concept for the gifting campaign with the kids,” Demna did not speak much about the outpouring of criticism. He addressed it for the first time in a recent interview with Vogue, revealing the intention behind these campaigns.
The Balenciaga top executive said that the Gift Shop campaign was created to promote the product line in conjunction with the end-of-year holidays. It was a wide range of unrelated products that necessitated a concept in which many different products could be shot concurrently. Kidswear was included in the collection, as were teddy bear bags referencing “DIY and punk culture (not BDSM).”
He goes on to say, “That was my big mistake. I didn’t realise how inappropriate it would be to put these objects [in the image] and still have the kid in the middle. It unfortunately was the wrong idea and a bad decision from me. We should not have featured kids in images that included objects that were not related and inappropriate to them. No one, myself included, raised a question of it being inappropriate. This was an error of judgment. I regret this a lot.”
Demna Gvasalia added that Balenciaga has learned from the incident and that more attentive checks and validation steps will be implemented before any image is released.
Demna said that although he realises his work has been seen as provocative, the campaign regarding the sexualisation of children would never be a part of his “provocative nature”. He told the publication that the most difficult thing for him in this saga has been dealing with the question, “how could I not see [the issue]? Because it is so clear to me now that it was the wrong thing to do.”
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