In an interview with Vogue, Demna, the creative director of Balenciaga, apologized for an advertisement that seemed to allude to child abuse and swore to stop using provocative showmanship.
The advertisements, which were released before the end of last year, showed kids holding teddy bear-type bags with studs and collars while they were surrounded by adult objects like wine glasses.
Large-scale internet criticism of it came from people close to Demna and the brand, including Kim Kardashian.
Demna (who abandoned his last name in 2021) admitted to the fashion bible that there had never been any intention to bring up abuse in his first interview after the controversy.
“I’ve witnessed a lot of drama in my life, but this was especially trying… “A mistake to learn from,” he remarked in the late Thursday interview.
I understand that people have perceived my work as provocative, but this particular circumstance would never fit into my, you know, provocative character, he continued.
The bears were an allusion to punk, not BDSM, Demna told Vogue.
He lacked an explanation, though, for the props used in a another set of photos, which included a printout of a US Supreme Court decision on child pornography.
When the controversy arose, Balenciaga declared that it would sue the business that produced the advertisement.
“I can categorically state that neither I nor Balenciaga intended for it to happen. I’m not sure if it was done on purpose by someone else, Demna said.
The Georgian designer claimed that the incident completely altered his method of doing business, which had previously frequently entailed high-profile celebrity endorsements and stunt campaigns, such as a line of trash bags that cost about $1,800.
“Now I have to seriously consider everything. It fundamentally alters my formerly more instinctual method of operation; I no longer act in ways that could be interpreted as provocative just because I’m having fun, he added.
His following presentation, which will take place during Paris Fashion Week next month, will be a simple event that focuses solely on the clothing.
I’ve made the decision to return to Balenciaga’s and my own fashion roots, which are focused on producing high-quality clothing rather than image- or buzz-driven items.
He made no mention of the other recent scandal involving his relationships with Kanye West, who walked out into a muddy hangar to open Balenciaga’s most recent show in Paris.
After the rapper made a series of contentious remarks, including an outburst deemed anti-Semitic, Balenciaga severed all ties with him.