Balenciaga owner Kering has been scolded by Nicolas Ghesquière.
The French fashion designer, 51, previously worked as the creative director of Balenciaga from 1997 to 2012. He is currently the artistic director of Louis Vuitton, a position he has held since 2013.
On Friday, November 25, Ghesquière took to his Instagram Story to criticize his former employer.
“When I left @kering in 2012 I felt disconnected and hurt [their] values and dishonesty,” he wrote to his 950,000 followers.
What is the Balenciaga scandal?
The comment comes after online reactions to Balenciaga’s recent holiday ad campaign, which featured children holding teddy bears dressed in bondage attire.
The luxury fashion brand, founded in 1919 by Spanish designer Cristóbal Balenciaga, apologized on Tuesday.
“We apologize for any offense our holiday campaign may have caused. Our plush bear bags should not have been shown with children in this campaign. We have immediately removed the campaign from all platforms,” the company shared via its Instagram Story.
Balenciaga also acknowledged the backlash over another image circulating on social media. In a separate campaign photo for the Spring 23 collection, eagle-eyed Twitter users spotted behind a handbag what appeared to be a 2008 Supreme Court ruling.
The United States v Williams ruling criminalized admitting to child pornography. It’s unclear if this paperwork was used in the Spring 23 photo shoot.
“We apologize for displaying disturbing documents in our campaign. We take this matter very seriously and are taking legal action against the parties responsible for creating the set and including non-approved items for our campaign photoshoot of Spring 23,” Balenciaga continued in his statement. “We strongly condemn abuse of children in any form. We stand for the safety and well-being of children.”
Gabriele Galimberti — who shot the holiday ad campaign but is not associated with the Spring 23 collection — also spoke out after receiving “hundreds of hate mail and messages,” he wrote via Instagram.
“I am not in a position to comment on Balenciaga’s choices, but I must emphasize that I had no right in any way to choose the products, nor the models, nor the combination thereof. As a photographer, I was alone and only asked to light the given scene and take the pictures according to my signature style. As usual with commercial shooting, the direction of the campaign and the choice of objects shown are not in the hands of the photographer,” Galimberti said on Wednesday.
“I suspect that any person prone to pedophilia searches the Internet and unfortunately too easily accesses images that are completely different from my own, absolutely explicit in their horrible content. Such lynchings are directed against wrong targets and distract from the real problem, and criminals.”
Galimberti also clarified that he did not photograph the image of the court document. Social media users had lumped the photo in with his pictures, making it look like he took it too.
“I have no connection with the photograph in which a Supreme Court document appears,” he said. “It was taken by other people in a different set and was wrongly associated with my photos.”
said Galimberti News Week the Spring 23 campaign was “done weeks before my first contact with Balenciaga”.
Balenciaga also confirmed that News Week that Galimberti was “in no way involved” in the Spring 23 collection.
A representative for the brand clarified that they are “actively investigating the content of the Spring 23 campaign and are pursuing legal action against those parties responsible for creating the Spring 23 set and including any unapproved items for that campaign photo shoot. “
What is Kering?
Kering is the France-based company that owns Balenciaga, Gucci, Alexander McQueen, Yves Saint Laurent and more luxury brands.
In addition to Nicolas Ghesquière, social media users have also criticized Kering.
“So BALENCIAGA, a brand belonging to Kering with a market cap of about 70 billion, put children with bondage gear teddy bears and had a Supreme Court document with Easter eggs about child pornography… and then deleted all their Instagram posts when they were called out for it. ..,” one person wrote on Twitter in a comment, which has since racked up more than 44,000 likes.
Another added: “Are we still in cancellation culture? Then use it for good! Cancel Balenciaga and its parent company Kering. Disgusting! #CancelBalenciaga.”
News Week contacted Kering for comment.
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