Balenciaga creative director apologises for ads criticised by Kim Kardashian

Demna Gvasalia said he had made the ‘wrong artistic choice’ with the recent fashion campaign.

Balenciaga store in Copenhagen, Denmark. October 2022. External view of the Balenciaga brand store by night in the city center
Balenciaga store in Copenhagen, Denmark. October 2022. External view of the Balenciaga brand store by night in the city center

Balenciaga’s creative designer has personally apologised for making the “wrong artistic choice” in a recent fashion campaign that was criticised by Kim Kardashian.

Demna Gvasalia said despite sometimes wanting to “provoke a thought” through his work, he would never have done so with the subject of child abuse.

Images for the campaign showed two young girls, both holding stuffed teddy bears which were dressed in bondage clothing while surrounded by an assortment of other items.

The advertisements sparked a major backlash online, including from the 42-year-old reality star, who said she was “shaken by the disturbing images”.

Kardashian later said she was “re-evaluating my relationship” with the brand, following the incident.

In an online message, Demna wrote: “I want to personally apologize for the wrong artistic choice of concept for the gifting campaign with the kids and I take my responsibility.

“It was inappropriate to have kids promote objects that had nothing to do with them.

“As much as I would sometimes like to provoke a thought through my work, I would NEVER have an intention to do that with such an awful subject as child abuse that I condemn. Period.”

The Georgian fashion designer added that he would engage with child protection organisations to learn how to “contribute and help on this terrible subject”.

“I apologize to anyone offended by the visuals and Balenciaga has guaranteed that adequate measures will be taken not only to avoid similar mistakes in the future but also to take accountability in protecting child welfare in every way we can,” he wrote.

In her own previous post, Kardashian said she had remained silent in the days since the campaign was first posted online because she wanted to speak with the brand to “understand for myself how this could have happened”.

“I have been quiet for the past few days, not because I haven’t been disgusted and outraged by the recent Balenciaga campaigns, but because I wanted an opportunity to speak to their team to understand for myself how this could have happened,” she wrote online.

“As a mother of four, I have been shaken by the disturbing images.

“The safety of children must be held with the highest regard and any attempts to normalize child abuse of any kind should have no place in our society — period.”

She continued: “I appreciate Balenciaga’s removal of the campaigns and apology.

“In speaking with them, I believe they understand the seriousness of the issue and will take the necessary measures for this to never happen again.”

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