Business of Fashion Revokes Award For Balenciaga Creative Director Following Children Scandal

Business of Fashion Revokes Award For Balenciaga Creative Director Following Children Scandal

November 29, 2022
Dom Challis

The Business of Fashion (BoF) has revoked an award given to Balenciaga’s creative director Demna Gvasalia, as the three separate scandals involving images of children continues to unfold at Balenciaga

The BoF had awarded Demna the 2022 Global VOICES Award, an hour that was previously awarded to the late Virgil Abloh. VOICES is a three day event beginning Tuesday 29 November and will feature many prominent members of the fashion industry.

41-year-old Demna and Balenciaga were likely to be praised at the event, but that was until the French fashion house was overwhelmed with criticism for their use of child models in an inappropriate ad featuring bondage-style teddy bears and more. 

In a statement on Monday 28 November, BoF said: “We have been seeking the truth about how children appeared with BDSM-inspired products in Balenciaga’s recent campaign images, which are wholly inconsistent with our values.

“As a result, we will not be presenting Demna with the Global VOICES Award this year. Nonetheless, we asked the leadership of Balenciaga to come to VOICES to take responsibility for releasing these images and offer explanation.”

The above image was included in a series of images for Balenciaga‘s new holiday campaign. The brand received backlash for their inappropriate use of BDSM bears and wine and champagne glasses around children. The campaign was withdrawn soon after its release.

Things only got worse for Balenciaga when a July campaign resurfaced because it included a difficult to see but visible Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) court ruling on child porn. 

In a statement found below, Balenciaga acknowledged the inescapable blame for the inappropriate campaign featuring children, but refused responsibility for the SCOTUS ruling on the production company “North Six.”

The fashion house claimed the production company had control over the props used and that they assured Balenciaga that all of the items in the photos were fake. 

You can find the in-depth statement released by Balenciaga via Instagram below.

“We take full accountability for our lack of oversight and control of the documents in the background and we could have done things differently” explains Balenciaga as the label attempts to both take full accountability and to also shift the blame of the SCOTUS ruling paper. 

A lot of people online weren’t content with Balenciaga’s statement and lack of accountability regarding the SCOTUS court documents in the background of the Spring 2023 campaign.

Balenciaga shifted the blame of this SCOTUS ruling on child porn to the design production company “North Six.”

The third and last campaign Balenciaga are receiving a lot of backlash for is this image from the labels scrapped Spring ’23 campaign. The image shows French actress Isabelle Huppert sitting in front of a stack of books, including one that celebrated Michael Borremans, a Belgian painter whose work is known to include depictions of castrated toddlers. 

Why exactly so many controversial props have appeared in these campaign ads for Balenciaga is still a mystery. I’d like to think Balenciaga will release another statement, maybe with some more answers or accountability. It would be a shame to see Balenciaga boycotted because of the way they’ve handled their responses.

The French fashion house has deleted all of their Instagram posts, bar their recent statement regarding the inappropriate ads.

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