Who is Demna Gvasalia? Balenciaga Creative Director at Heart of BDSM Ad Photo Row Had Made it to Time's 100 List

Demna Gvasalia, the creative director at Balenciaga, has found himself at the centre of the controversial Balenciaga ad campaign which includes images of children carrying adult-themed teddy bears and documents from disturbing Supreme Court cases.

The images is said to simulate sadomasochism as the stuffed teddies appear to be dressed in bondage gear, such as fishnet shirts and studded leather harnesses and collars. These were posted on the brand's Instagram account which currently has 14 million followers.

Demna Gvasalia
Twitter

Kim Kardashian, Balenciaga brand ambassador, lashed out at Gvasalia on Twitter that she was disgusted and shaken by the controversial images. "As a mother of four, I have been shaken by the disturbing images." The reality star said child safety must be held with the highest regard and attempts to normalize child abuse of any kind should have no place in society.

Gvasalia Apologizes

Gvasalia, who is better known as Demna, apologized on his Instagram account. "We sincerely apologize for any offense 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."

Another post stated – "We apologize for displaying unsettling documents in our campaign. We take this matter very seriously and are taking legal action against the parties responsible for creating the set and including unapproved items for our spring 23 campaign photoshoot. We strongly condemn abuse of children in any form. We stand for children and well-being."

Despite the apology and Balenciaga, a high-end luxury fashion business that was created in 1919 in San Sebastian in Spain, having taken down the images, several people have taken screenshots and re-uploaded them on social media platforms. The photographs have been referred to as "Pedophilia agenda" and "child abuse". People have called for the brand to be canceled.

Gvasalia, who recently made it into Time's 100 most influential people in the world list, has taken Balenciaga's revenue across the billion-euro mark under his leadership. He was born in Georgia at the time of the civil war and was raised in an Orthodox Christian Georgian-Russian household.

Gabriele Galimberti Receives Hate Mails

Gabriele Galimberti, the photographer of the shoot, has allegedly received hate mails and messages. He said he is not in a position to comment on Balenciaga's choices. "But I must stress that I was not entitled in whatsoever manner to neither chose the products, nor the models, nor the combination of the same," the professional photographer said. "As a photographer, I was only and solely requested to lit the given scene, and take the shots according to my signature style. As usual for a commercial shooting, the direction of the campaign and the choice of the objects displayed are not in the hands of the photographer."

This article was first published on November 30, 2022
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