Balenciaga creative director issues apology for 'BDSM teddy bear' pics: 'I need to learn from this'

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By Phoebe Egoroff

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Balenciaga's creative director has finally broken his silence and issued an apology following the heavily vilified Spring 2023 campaign.

The controversy began after the fashion brand released images from photoshoots for their Spring 2023 collections, with some of the images showing young child models posing in bedroom settings and holding backpacks that were designed to look like teddy bears seemingly wearing BDSM-inspired harnesses.

Understandably, the internet was outraged. The Spanish-founded luxury brand swiftly released an apology ad campaign that seemed to place the blame squarely on the photographer and production company responsible for that shoot.

Fast-acting Lawyers for Balenciaga then filed a $25 million lawsuit against the production company North Six, but subsequently dropped it after it became evident that fans of the brand wanted to see more personal responsibility being taken for the content of campaigns.

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TMZ then reported on Friday (December 2) that the brand has instead decided to "learn, help, and contribute to protecting children," choosing to donate money to child protection organizations rather than chase damages in a lawsuit.

Mom-of-four Kim Kardashian - who has a professional relationship with the fashion brand - also faced the wrath of irate fans when she didn't explicitly state that she would be cutting ties with Balenciaga. While it was previously reported that Kim had recently declined an offer from Balenciaga, it hasn't been confirmed whether the reality TV star has permanently ended her relationship with the luxury clothing house.

Now, more than a week after the initial scandal exploded Balenciaga's creative director Demna Gvasalia has finally released an apology. Wiping all uploads from his Instagram, Demna left just one remaining post that contained his apology but turned off all comments.

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Demna finally issued an apology after Balenciaga's campaigns first sparked controversy. Credit: Jennifer Graylock / Alamy

"I want to personally apologize for the wrong artistic choice of concept for the gifting campaign with the kids and I take my responsibility," the apology began.

"It was inappropriate to have kids promote objects that had nothing to do with them," Demna continued, adding that he always aims to "provoke a thought" in his work but that he "would NEVER have an intention to do that with such an awful subject as child abuse that I condemn. Period."

"I need to learn from this, listen and engage with child protection organizations to know how I can contribute and help on this terrible subject. I apologize to anyone offended by the visuals and Balenciaga has guaranteed that adequate measures will be taken to not only avoid similar mistakes in the future but also to take accountability in protecting child welfare in every way we can," the apology concluded.

Following the original backlash, many netizens declared that they would no longer be shopping with the fashion brand - with country music star Jason Aldean's wife Brittany even deciding to throw out bags of Balenciaga clothing.

Featured image credit: Jennifer Graylock / Alamy

Balenciaga creative director issues apology for 'BDSM teddy bear' pics: 'I need to learn from this'

vt-author-image

By Phoebe Egoroff

Article saved!Article saved!

Balenciaga's creative director has finally broken his silence and issued an apology following the heavily vilified Spring 2023 campaign.

The controversy began after the fashion brand released images from photoshoots for their Spring 2023 collections, with some of the images showing young child models posing in bedroom settings and holding backpacks that were designed to look like teddy bears seemingly wearing BDSM-inspired harnesses.

Understandably, the internet was outraged. The Spanish-founded luxury brand swiftly released an apology ad campaign that seemed to place the blame squarely on the photographer and production company responsible for that shoot.

Fast-acting Lawyers for Balenciaga then filed a $25 million lawsuit against the production company North Six, but subsequently dropped it after it became evident that fans of the brand wanted to see more personal responsibility being taken for the content of campaigns.

size-large wp-image-1263180494

TMZ then reported on Friday (December 2) that the brand has instead decided to "learn, help, and contribute to protecting children," choosing to donate money to child protection organizations rather than chase damages in a lawsuit.

Mom-of-four Kim Kardashian - who has a professional relationship with the fashion brand - also faced the wrath of irate fans when she didn't explicitly state that she would be cutting ties with Balenciaga. While it was previously reported that Kim had recently declined an offer from Balenciaga, it hasn't been confirmed whether the reality TV star has permanently ended her relationship with the luxury clothing house.

Now, more than a week after the initial scandal exploded Balenciaga's creative director Demna Gvasalia has finally released an apology. Wiping all uploads from his Instagram, Demna left just one remaining post that contained his apology but turned off all comments.

wp-image-1263181567 size-full
Demna finally issued an apology after Balenciaga's campaigns first sparked controversy. Credit: Jennifer Graylock / Alamy

"I want to personally apologize for the wrong artistic choice of concept for the gifting campaign with the kids and I take my responsibility," the apology began.

"It was inappropriate to have kids promote objects that had nothing to do with them," Demna continued, adding that he always aims to "provoke a thought" in his work but that he "would NEVER have an intention to do that with such an awful subject as child abuse that I condemn. Period."

"I need to learn from this, listen and engage with child protection organizations to know how I can contribute and help on this terrible subject. I apologize to anyone offended by the visuals and Balenciaga has guaranteed that adequate measures will be taken to not only avoid similar mistakes in the future but also to take accountability in protecting child welfare in every way we can," the apology concluded.

Following the original backlash, many netizens declared that they would no longer be shopping with the fashion brand - with country music star Jason Aldean's wife Brittany even deciding to throw out bags of Balenciaga clothing.

Featured image credit: Jennifer Graylock / Alamy