The Devil Wears Balenciaga
Never take candy from a stranger. Never get in a car with someone you don’t know.
Oh, and never pose for photos with a teddy bear clad in exorbitantly priced bondage gear.
Luxury fashion house Balenciaga is under fire, quite appropriately, for their holiday ad campaign. The models are toddler girls. Displayed around them and in their arms are an array of bedroom products even most adults wouldn’t touch.
Nothing says “Merry Christmas!” like a BDSM bear. In all seriousness, it’s grotesque and a glamorization of obscenity quite literally in the hands of children.
Balenciaga claims missteps in the approval process. Bull.
Shoot photographer Gabriele Galimberti took to Instagram to defend himself in the court of public opinion.
“As a photographer,” he claims, “I was only and solely requested to light 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.”
Right, because again, the objects are in the hands of the toddlers.
Even if we are to accept Galimberti’s mealy-mouthed apology, his lack of spine is shameful enough. When he could have refused to document young children with obscene objects, Galimberti stayed quiet behind the camera.
But if Galimberti is merely an enabler, who is the perverted architect behind the Balenciaga fetish campaigns?
From what I can tell, Balenciaga is totally covering for her. The luxury brand’s person-of-interest stylist mysteriously went AWOL shortly following the viral backlash.
The alleged lunatic is Lotta Volkova. She’s previously been described as a “beacon of impeccable taste” with an “impeccable eye.”
I’m going to have to disagree, disrespectfully.
Volkova’s so-called taste “takes style cues” from fetishism. Her Instagram includes photos normalizing—if not glamorizing—cross-dressing minors, Satanism, and scenes reminiscent of American Psycho.
Check out this shirt styled by our girl Lotta. A beacon of impeccable taste!
Lotta Volkova is deeply, deeply disturbed. There’s no doubt about that. While Balenciaga has yet to confirm Volkova’s orchestration of the warped, pedo-chic photoshoot, if the stylist had nothing to hide, why would she switch her Instagram status to private as soon as the shock and disgust came flooding in?
Now, if Balenciaga had a history of silence regarding controversial issues, it’d be easier (slightly) to write them off as a tasteless, out-of-touch, over-the-line company. But they don’t.
Just this October, Balenciaga dropped its partnership with Kanye West following his string of inciteful, inflammatory Internet statements. Adidas, major collaborator with Balenciaga and Kanye’s largest account, also severed ties.
Adidas, once so committed to relevant social issues, has not commented on the bondage bears.
Balenciaga claims it never intended to link children holding lewd adult equipment to pedophilia! Maybe we should the company some leeway. After all, they’re dealing with the lawsuit they just filed regarding another shoot featuring copies of United States v. Williams. Why yes, that is the Supreme Court ruling that banned child pornography. Why no, it belongs nowhere near the set of a handbag content session.
Balenciaga is suing for $25 million in damages due to the “recklessness” of the production company. I don’t see Balenciaga winning this case but I assume their legal acumen is probably just as good as their judgment of “art.”
Oh, and speaking of Kanye West, his ex-wife Kim Kardashian happens to be the most influential Balenciaga ambassador in the world. She took almost a week to find words following the public scandal.
Kim Kardashian is not exactly unfamiliar with divorce. But even after Balenciaga was found complacent (to put it nicely) in the exploitation and abuse of children, thrice-split Kim won’t cut ties with the luxury brand.
Because she doesn’t have to.
Kardashian washed her hands of the affair with the traditional bare-minimum “I’m shocked and appalled.” I predict she’ll return to wearing Balenciaga at galas and awards ceremonies.
For her job security Kim can thank the liberal media who will make this scandal go away very quietly.
Why must this remain hush-hush? Why is creepy Lotta Volkova being protected? Why is the public accepting Balenciaga’s blatant lies?
P.S. A spokesperson for Lotta Volkova claims she has not worked with Balenciaga since 2018. I suppose the photographs of her with sexualized teddy bears are purely coincidental. Instead, the fashion industry seems to be placing blame on designer Demna Gvasalia whose outlook has been documented: “I no longer think about making the industry understand, I just do it.” There has been no confirmation by the company regarding at whom the buck stops.