Gucci faces backlash for Harry Styles ad with toddler mattress after Balenciaga row

Speaking of the campaign, Gucci called it a "performance piece"

Gucci have been criticised for a recent advertising campaign that features Harry Styles posing with a toddler’s mattress.

The campaign, for Gucci’s ‘HA HA HA’ collection, has been described as inappropriate, following Balenciaga’s recent controversial Christmas advertising campaign.

Last month, the French luxury fashion house was widely condemned after it pulled a series of commercials that contained alleged sexualised images of children and court documents related to child pornography cases.


Figures from across the fashion industry and beyond voiced their criticisms and concerns on social media, with many calling on people to boycott the company.

Kanye West, who worked with Balenciaga before it cut ties with the rapper last month over his antisemitic comments, has since spoken about the controversy. His ex-wife Kim Kardashian – an ambassador for the brand – also addressed the issue.

Having already posted two apologies, Balenciaga took to Instagram on November 28 to further explain the axed campaign. “The two separate ad campaigns in question reflect a series of grievous errors for which Balenciaga takes responsibility,” they said.

Gucci’s ‘HA HA HA’ collection has been described as the product of a friendship between Styles and recently departed creative director Alessandro Michele.

“Play is at the very heart of the collection, which uses menswear as a tool of the avant garde,” Gucci said. “Harry Styles showcase[s] the ‘dream wardrobe’ defined by the eccentric use of romantic accents, whimsical prints, vintage details and the expressive emotionality of the individual.”


Speaking of the campaign, Gucci called it a “performance piece”, adding: “Harry Styles enacts a theatrical piece where classicism meets play, transforming the wardrobe into a liberated platform where the masculine can embrace vanity.”

Critics of the new Gucci campaign include Alexandra Gucci Zarini, the great-granddaughter of the fashion house’s founder, Guccio Gucci.

“Why would you create a ‘performance piece’ with a toddler’s mattress and an adult man?” Zarini wrote on social media. “My concerns are that there seems to be a common ideology across Kering’s fashion houses.

“Gucci was created to be the most elegant brand with the highest quality product. The direction it seems to be taking now is concerning. The protection of children should always come first and not be laughed at.”

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