Who is Gabriele Galimberti? Photographer behind Balenciaga’s disgusting campaign inspired by his 'Toy Stories' series

Who is Gabriele Galimberti? Photographer behind Balenciaga’s disgusting campaign inspired by his 'Toy Stories' series
Italian photographer Gabriele Galimberti captured the controversial photos for the Balenciaga campaign (Instagram/@gabrielegalimbertiphoto)

The global fashion brand Balenciaga’s recent campaign for the “Balenciaga Objects” line received heavy backlash after the brand featured children in a somewhat “obscene” way. At first glance, the ad campaign might come across as cute and innocent, but on closer observation, the ad's “BDSM-esque” theme seems quite controversial. The campaign featured children holding the brand’s “Plush Bear Bags,” which resemble teddy bears clad in “bondage gear.” The photoshoot for the campaign also included a hidden document about “virtual child porn” among NSFW-looking accessories and trinkets.

The campaign launch resulted in quite an uproar on the internet as many slammed the fashion house for its “deviant” behavior by sexualizing young children. While the outrage did result in the brand releasing an official apology on its Instagram page, netizens were not convinced. From bashing the celebrities that endorsed the brand to demanding to know who was responsible for such an unethical campaign, people online rallied against Balenciaga with all their might. The brand has not revealed the identities of the creators behind the controversial ad, but it is known that Italian photographer Gabriele Galimberti photographed the campaign titled "Balenciaga Gift Shop."


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Global fashion brand Balenciaga's apology on Instagram (Instagram/@balenciaga)
Global fashion brand Balenciaga's apology on Instagram (Instagram/@balenciaga)

Who is Gabriele Galimberti?

Gabriele Galimberti is an Italian photographer who started as a commercial photographer and now focuses on documentary photography. He has worked on several projects for international magazines and newspapers such as National Geographic, The Sunday Times, Stern, Geo, Le Monde, La Repubblica, and Marie Claire. Currently, he works on solo and shared projects.


Galimberti has previously worked on a project titled "Toy Stories" in which he photographs children with their favorite toys arranged neatly in front of them in a display. He has also extended the project by capturing adults in his photos, calling it "The Ameriguns". In this project, he photographed American adults and their guns as their “toys” in their homes and neighborhoods, sometimes even in places where no one would expect to find such arsenals.

Galimberti won the World Press Photo 2021 in the “Portrait Stories” category with this project. Galimberti's photos sometimes also include children next to the guns, which has irked a few people online. 


According to Collater, the "Balenciaga Gift Shop" campaign had the Italian photographer draw on work from his past projects, where he photographed people surrounded by their things representing “sweeping portraits of everyday eccentricities.” Galimberti decided to base the Balenciaga photoshoot as an extension of his ‘Toy Stories’ project.

While it is still unknown whether the photographer picked the objects the children were surrounded with or Balenciaga itself, the choice of NSFW objects has caused the internet to blame the photographer along with the fashion brand. Galimberti has not yet commented on the issue.

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