Spanish luxury brand Balenciaga has been continuously facing backlash since the release of the ad campaign for their latest Spring/Summer 2023 collection.
The controversial pictures showed two young kids posing with plush toys dressed in BDSM-style bondage gear. However, that wasn't all as some eagle-eyed fans also pointed out that there was another "sinister" symbolism from Balenciaga which only added fuel to the fire.
People took to Twitter to slam the brand and call it out for the images.
Although the fashion brand issued a lengthy apology for the campaign, the new controversy comes from an image on the brand's Instagram page. The brand is being slammed by netizens on not one but two fronts.
Warning: This article contains some content that may be triggering to certain audiences.
Balenciaga and its connection to Michael Borremans book Fire from the Sun
Just days after the controversy of children with soft toys in bondage gear, Balenciaga has, once again, come under fire for an image on their Instagram handle. At first glance, the picture looks quite normal, with a red-haired model, wearing Balenciaga clothes, sitting in an office chair with a messy table.
However, when zoomed in, a book titled Fire From The Sun by Michael Borremans is seen lying amidst the pile of books. The book is incredibly controversial and even its cover is quite disturbing to look at.
David Zwirner gallery's website describes the book as:
“Toddlers engaged in playful but mysterious acts with sinister overtones and insinuations of violence.”
Michael Borremans is a Belgian-based painter and filmmaker. The 59-year-old is known for his unique style of painting, which merges 18th-century art with the techniques of Degas and Édouard Manet. His work featured in Fire From The Sun is reportedly from his recent series The Badger's Song.
After online sleuths were able to identify and trace the book's history, the brand was slammed online for using such controversial books in their brand shoots.
In the screenshots shared by a Twitter user, other pictures show people dressed in all-black as they seemingly perform some type of ritual with little kids involved. The user pointed out themes like "pedophilia, blood ritual, dark religiosity, occultism, racism" being practiced in the paintings.
Balenciaga and Baal caution tape controversy
Balenciaga was not only slammed for featuring Fire from the Sun but also for one other controversial prop present on a set which featured a young kid. On November 23, 2022, a Twitter user pointed out that the tape that the brand used as a prop didn't read "Balenciaga" but read "Baalenciaga."
According to the New World Encyclopedia, Baal was a god mostly worshiped in Canaan from ancient times. His worship was vehemently opposed by the Kings of Judah and the Biblical Prophets who believed that it was God's will to remove the Canaanite religion from Israel and Judah.
The website also mentions that the prophets of Baal engaged in self-mutilation. Another issue that was controversial in the religion was that of child sacrifice, and it was usually the first-born of the sacrificer who was offered to Baal and the other gods.
After the Twitter user noticed the name and tweeted about the god's history, people were quick to slam the Spanish brand for having controversial and "sick" props in their projects.
The brand is yet to address any of the recent controversies surrounding their latest Spring/Summer 23 campaign. While they did apologize for the campaign that had the soft toys in bondage gear and mentioned that they condemn the "abuse of children in any form," the public doesn't seem to buy it.