In recent weeks, Balenciaga released two very controversial campaigns. The first featured young children wearing teddy bear bags styled in S&M-style accessories. The second was a Spring 2023 ad which seemed harmless enough until the alarming photo of a Balenciaga x Adidas Hourglass laid across court documents relating to the 2008 United States v. Williams Supreme Court decision regarding child pornography laws.
In the wake of social media outcry from fans and fashion insiders and the slight hint at a possible break up but not really from their biggest A-list supporter, Kim Kardashian, Balenciaga is prepared to sue. It seems a lawsuit was filed in New York State Supreme Court, stating Balenciaga is suing North Six Inc, alongside its agent and set designer Nicholas Des Jardins, for $25 million in “extensive damages.”
In Balenciaga’s public social media statement, posted to the brand’s Instagram Story, they claimed that inclusion of the certain documents was without their knowledge or approval.
The brand wrote in a since expired Story post: “We Sincerely apologize for any offence our holiday campaign may have caused. Our plush bear bags should not have been featured with children in this campaign. We have immediately removed the campaign from all platforms. We apologise for displaying unsettling documents in our campaign. We take this matter very seriously and are taking legal action against the parties responsible for creating this set and including unapproved items from our Spring ’23 campaign photo. We strongly condemn abuse of children in any form. We stand for children safety and well-being.”
While Balenciaga is holding onto the claim that this all transpired without their knowledge, Gabriela Moussaieff, Des Jardin’s agent, argues that Des Jardin is “being used as a scapegoat” by Balenciaga, a statement she made this past week. “Everyone from Balenciaga was on the shoot and was present on every shot and worked on the edit of every image in post-production,” Moussaieff continued. She also noted that the U.S v. Williams document was rented from a prop house.
Balenciaga has removed both campaigns from its site, but social media still isn’t buying it. Some see the lawsuit as a suspicious shift of blame. It removes Balenciaga’s role in the creative process entirely which seems rather odd for a brand as prolific as it is. According to The Fashion Law, the complaint hasn’t been uploaded yet to the New York state court database, so we’re currently unclear about the claims Balenciaga is filing.
Stay tuned for updates on the case, but until then, read the backstory of his controversial campaign on The State of Fashion and let us know what you think!