It’s Balenciaga round 2 because it appears like fashion brands have lost their ability to make sensible ads. Harry Styles and Gucci are facing the heat after the “As It Was” singer appeared in his HA Ha Ha Gucci ad campaigns. The photos from this campaign were released weeks after Balenciaga’s recent controversial campaign.
Another Creepy Ad Campaign
Kering, the parent company behind luxury brand Balenciaga is facing another PR mishap over backlash to Gucci’s HA HA HA ad campaign featuring Harry Styles. In the Italian brand’s campaign, released on Nov. 2, the “As It Was” singer was seen wearing a teddy bear T-shirt while posing next to a toddler-sized mattress.
Play is at the very heart of the Gucci HA HA HA collection…its name after all is the onomatopoeic sound of the written essence of the ‘laughing face’ emoji, as well as the serial crasis of the initials of ‘Harry’ and ‘Alessandro,’” the brand stated in November.
Gucci called this campaign a “performance piece” at the time of its release. “Starting from those small oddities that come together in childlike visions, it turns into a ‘dream wardrobe’ reflecting the two creative spirits behind the collection,” the brand added.
In the photos posted to Gucci’s Instagram, Styles, who has worked with the luxury brand for several years, was seen standing in front of the child-size mattress with an angry-looking pink teddy on it. “I want more berries and that summer feeling,” the shirt reads, which is also a lyric from his Grammy-winning song “Watermelon Sugar.”
The images were enough to ignite another controversy following Balenciaga’s campaign that saw massive backlash for featuring child models posing on the bed holding teddy bears wearing what would appear to be bondage gear.
How Are People Reacting?
Fans including Alexandra Gucci Zarini (Gucci’s founder’s granddaughter) have come forward to call this ad yet another fashion misstep. “Why would you create a ‘performance piece’ with a toddler’s mattress and an adult man?” Zarini wrote on Instagram. “My concerns are that there seems to be a common ideology across Kering’s fashion houses.”
Another wrote, “A toddler mattress with a grown man and a teddy bear on his shirt… Symbolism will be their downfall.” One person commented, “Why are all fashion brand ad makers sick creeps?” Another declared, “A child’s mattress and a teddy bear shirt, nothing to see here unless you’re a perv.”
— Gillian McKeith (@GillianMcKeith) December 18, 2022
“But honestly @Harry_Styles what’s fashionable about anything here? Your shades? The twin-sized mattress is weird AF. What does it imply? Why’s it there? A kids mattress and you’re wearing a pink teddy bear… why are actors so desperately clueless,” another criticised. Another denounced the brand and wrote, “Time to throw away the Gucci items I own. Bye bye Gucci!”
The man behind this campaign is none other than Alessandro Michele, the former creative director of Gucci. The Italian brand announced in late November that Michele would be departing after working with Gucci for seven years. The fashion brand hasn’t responded to requests for comments on the issue.