Netizens lament over Cristobal Balenciaga as the brand crumbles under criticism (image via Getty/Cecil Beaton and Jeremy Moeller)

"He would have been absolutely horrified": Fans lament downfall of Cristobal Balenciaga's brand amid child campaign controversy

Balenciaga has suffered serious damage to its name and brand following the Spring 2023 campaign featuring children posing with teddy bears dressed in BDSM-inspired outfits. Despite the luxury brand filing a lawsuit against the production company and the set designer, damage like this sticks.

The brand's most recent ad campaign (Image via Twitter/DatCatDer)

Though the brand tried to point the blame on others, its name seems to have been tarnished by association. Fans who previously doted on the brand have now rescinded their support in an attempt to cancel them. Many are upset that the brand's current actions have also tarnished the name of Cristóbal, founder and designer.

Among others to lament the late Cristóbal's name, the chairman of the Latin Mass Society, Joseph Shaw, expressed his current disgust towards the brand by ringing in Cristóbal's Catholic upbringing. He said:

Cristóbal Balenciaga was a Catholic who attended daily Mass. He would have been absolutely horrified by what is being done to his brand. (He died in 1972.)…
'Luxury fashion house Balenciaga is raising child safeguarding concerns after launching a new ad campaign featuring children and bondage-themed toys that many are calling “disturbing.”

Cristóbal Balenciaga established the dressmaking company under his name before he was 20 years old


Born in 1895 in Guetaria, Spain, Cristóbal began sewing at the age of 10 after his father's death, making it inevitable that his mother would be the sole earning member of his family. He visited Paris at the age of 15, which inspired him to become a couturier, and within five years, he established his own brand.

Over the next 15 years, Balenciaga grew to become a leading brand in Spain. After moving his brand to Paris, Cristóbal spent the next 30 years building his brand and iconizing new styles, including eliminating the waistline for flowy, cape-style clothes.

The Flamenco ball dress (L) designed by the founder (R) (Image via Getty/Cecil Beaton and Henri Cartier-Bresson)

Master of Haute Couture, Cristóbal, is famous for starting his design process using fabrics instead of sketches. His designs have been influenced by his Spanish heritage, and elements of those can be seen throughout the previously released lines of the brand.

The wide-hipped 'Infanta' dresses from the late 1930s, Flamenco dresses, matador outfits, and the use of black lace are wonderful examples of the same. His continued theme of 'abstracting the body' can be seen throughout his designs, from the babydoll dress to the four-point envelope dress.

The babydoll silhouette and the four-point envelope dress by Cristobal (image via Getty/Hiro and VM)

Ironically, Cristóbal largely stayed away from the press, giving an interview just once in his 50-year-long career. In 1968, the label was closed, and four years later, Cristóbal died at the age of 77 in Valencia, Spain. The relaunch in 1986 was credited to Nicolas Ghesquière and the current creative director, Demna Gvasalia.

Since Demna Gvasalia's takeover, the brand has found itself at the forefront of several controversies, and though Cristóbal Balenciaga's influence remained, there are visible deviations from his iconic style.

A young Cristobal (L) (image via Getty/Roger Viollet) and Demna Gvasalia (R) (image via Getty/Dimitrios Kambouris)


Netizens thrash the current team for ruining the Balenciaga name

Cristóbal's design essence is credited with being wildly different from that of Demna Gvasalia's, which has sparked outrage among fashion enthusiasts. His flair for the dramatic characterization of the outfits is in stark contrast with the current Balenciaga name.

Demna's designs are now almost minimalist and are considered dull in comparison. With the onset of the most recent scandal, the luxury fashion house faces further backlash.

Cristóbal Balenciaga has been the best Spanish fashion designer in history. He was synonymous with elegance and femininity in 40s, 50s and 60s.

That is not Balenciaga, it is an offense that uses his name because they bought his rights.

This was Balenciaga:…
Balanciaga’s homepage.

•child with a BDSM stuffed animal with PANDA EYES
•WHITE RABBIT on the bed
• that picture of the bag looks innocent right? — zoom in & it’s what appears to be court documents arguing about some type of s*xual misconduct and p*rnography… ???
the fact that Cristóbal Balenciaga, one of the most elegant men in history, has his name posthumously put on such hideous outfits is truly one of the great crimes of the 21st century
I know Cristobal Balenciaga is turning in his grave at what these people have done to his name
balenciaga died the moment cristobal balenciaga did
@nonregemesse I agree completely!
Cristobal Balenciaga was one of the greatest couturiers & the epitome of elegance and good taste.
The fashion world has degenerated so much nowadays that has nothing to do with what once was this trademark.

This is why sometimes is better that houses close after the head are dead.Seriously Cristobal Balenciaga didn’t deserve what this sick people have done with his legacy.
@scobie The founder of this once-great house (Cristobal Balenciaga, 1895-1972) is rolling in his grave. How/why “luxury” conglomerates like @KeringGroup want to buy a business for its name and then drag that name through the mud is beyond me.

Balenciaga's current style has been quite shaky but remains controversial. Gimp masks, tactical and military-inspired wear, fetish masks, studded facial prosthetics, and minimalism has walked the runway under the brand's name.

Edited by
Shreya Das
See more
More from Sportskeeda