Balenciaga creative director Demna Gvasalia ties up with National Children’s Alliance after BDSM ad row
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: Disgraced Balenciaga creative director Demna has opened up for the first time since his controversial ad campaigns last year got him in serious trouble. While talking to one of the leading fashion magazines, the 41-year-old said his one mistake put the "whole Balenciaga family" into trouble. One of the campaigns featured children and BDSM-like teddy bears. “The bears were inspired by ‘punk and DIY culture,’ not BDSM, and were an offshoot of similar bears used in the October 2022 fashion show,” Demna said while trying to clarify their action. The fashion designer added that the idea to combine everything in one, including toys and children was the big mistake, "This is where my error comes in."
"That was my big mistake. I didn't realize how inappropriate it would be to put these objects [in the image] and still have the kid in the middle. 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," Demna told Vogue in an article published on Thursday, February 9.
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'These are the mistakes we have made'
Learning from past mistakes, the designer of the leading fashion labels said he won’t want to mess with a similar topic in the future, "These are the mistakes we have made, and we have to be responsible for them. I would never want to mess around with a subject like that." His second campaign drew criticism, which was Balenciaga’s Spring 2023 campaign. It featured an office-like setting and several papers were strewn about the room referring to the Supreme Court case United States v Williams on Child porn. Delma remembered how it all was shocking for him, "At first, we were told the documents were confirmed to be fake,. The [holiday] campaign was different because the inappropriate nature of associating kids with those objects was clearly our mistake."
"When the scandal was sparked [by the documents and props], I was like, everybody, my team was shocked. I don't know how they ended up there. They were not supposed to be there. I was completely stunned." Amid controversy, the brand issued a public apology, and Delma shared his regret.
What is the tie-up all about?
Moving forward, Delma said his organization will take a deeper look before passing any ad campaigns, and he expects more from himself, "I have decided to go back to my roots in fashion as well as to the roots of Balenciaga, which is making quality clothes—not making image or buzz." Balenciaga has also decided to partner with National Children's Alliance, a nonprofit organization, which works on mental health in a multiyear partnership, reports People. Delma further explained, “because it will help thousands of kids in the process of overcoming trauma and dealing with their mental health. It's the one thing that makes me happy about this whole horrible situation: to do something good out of it."