Balenciaga’s latest campaign imagery, featuring their newly released ‘Objects’ collection, used some questionable visuals for what was initially a controversial campaign and is now a full blown conspiracy. Removing the images from their site and IG, Balenciaga has since released a statement apologising for what they’re implying was a mix up.
Featuring various children splayed out on a sofa and surrounded by the different ‘Objects’ from Balenciaga’s new drop, the campaign’s quite unassuming at first glance. However, people on Twitter and TikTok who have been analysing the set dressing of Balenciaga’s recent campaigns have reached some disturbing conclusions as part of a conspiracy theory.
The ‘Objects’ campaign first raised eyebrows due to its use of child-models, particularly alongside their newly debuted ‘plush bear bags’ which are controversially outfitted in harnesses and leather straps. One TikTok user, @rachmcqueen1, responded to Balenciaga’s apology which wrote “Our plush bear bags should not have been featured with children in this campaign”, by saying that they should never have used children with or without the plush bears, given that Kering Group – which Balenciaga is a part of – announced they would no longer be using models under 18 in any campaigns from 2020.
The presence of the plush bear bags, which are bags in the shape of toy bears but with piercings, implied bruising, and in fetishwear, is questionable as they’re definitely not for children. However, this isn’t even what’s got people particularly riled up. In fact, what the internet’s been so enraged by is the supposed context of the shoot – a conspiracy theory about Balenciaga’s true intentions.
The conspiracy was originally made by Twitter user @shoe0nhead, who linked the set dressing of a previous Balenciaga x adidas campaign to the ‘Objects’ visuals. A document featured in the background of the previous shoot is actually a US legal document which criminalised the advertisement, promotion, presentation or distribution of child p**********. The fact that Balenciaga, shortly after posting this, released a campaign featuring children is what’s caused people to make the connection.
Whether it’s a crazy conspiracy that gotten wildly out of hand or an act of genuine self-sabotage on Balenciaga’s part, the whole ordeal is ultimately shocking. While we have to accept that the relationship between the ‘Objects’ campaign and the use of the legal document in Balenciaga x adidas isn’t backed by any real evidence, it’s an unfortunate connection – neither should have been featured. It begs the question, how could this have happened?
Someone must be responsible.
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