Harry Styles and Gucci are facing backlash online for an ad campaign in which the English singer and songwriter is seen posing in a teddy-bear T-shirt next to a toddler bed.
Styles appeared in the new “HA HA HA” Gucci campaign in an array of outfits with different props. In one of the photos, posted to the fashion house’s Instagram, he is seen standing in front of a small mattress with his hands in his pockets. Another picture showed Styles carrying a toddler-sized mattress under his arm.
“A performance piece starring Harry Styles and the Gucci HA HA HA collection, discover the campaign at the link in bio,” Gucci wrote in the caption of the post.
Take a look below:
On Gucci’s website, the fashion house elaborated on the meaning behind the campaign. “The House presents the Gucci HA HA HA campaign featuring British singer-songwriter and actor, Harry Styles. Arising from the friendship between him and creative director Alessandro Michele, play is at the very heart of the collection, which uses menswear as a tool of the avant-garde,” it read.
“Captured by Mark Borthwick, the series of images sees Harry Styles showcase the ‘dream wardrobe’ defined by the eccentric use of romantic accents, whimsical prints, vintage details, and the expressive emotionality of the individual,” Gucci’s site concluded.
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However, on social media, several users said that photos are “not a good look” for styles “as a grown man”. Some critics even suggested that the campaign includes inappropriate imagery, especially in light of the Balenciaga ad campaigns, which also featured children posing with bondage teddy bears. Others noted that both Gucci and Balenciaga are both owned by French luxury owner The Kering Group.
“Why are all fashion brands ad makers sick creeps,” wrote one user. “A child’s mattress and a teddy bear shirt, nothing to see here unless you’re a perv,” said another.
A third user commented, “Why is a toddler bed in this? Why the teddy bear shirt? What is the angle? Aside from strange?” A fourth simply added, “This is not acceptable at all.”
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The ad campaign was also condemned by the great-granddaughter of Gucci’s founder. In an Instagram post, Alexandra Gucci Zarini wrote, “@gucci Why would you create a ‘performance piece’ with a toddler’s mattress and an adult man? My concerns are that there seems to be a common ideology across Kering’s Fashion Houses”.
Gucci is yet to address the backlash.
Meanwhile, this comes after Balenciaga was embroiled in a controversy over its recent ad. It featured children holding teddy bears dressed in bondage gear. The campaign drew sharp criticism online, following which the luxury fashion brand apologised, and sued the French company that handled its campaign for $25 million.
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