Father of British child model who posed in bondage-themed Balenciaga campaign defends photoshoot

The father of a British child model who posed clutching X-rated teddy bears wearing bondage gear for Balenciaga’s BDSM-themed fashion shoot today defended the warped campaign – saying his daughter had a ‘fantastic time’ posing for the photographs.

Speaking exclusively to MailOnline, the father said he was present at the shoot, which was ‘an enjoyable day out’ – and insisted the bizarre pictures had been taken ‘totally out of context’.

‘No parent would actively encourage the child to take part in something which was pornographic, and I think the publicity surrounding what happened has been blown out of all proportion,’ he said.

The cuddly toys featured in the Christmas campaign are scantily clad wearing S&M-style harnesses with chains and studs – to promote the designer’s ‘plush bear’ handbag collection – prompting calls for a boycott on social media.

The anonymous father of a British child model who posed clutching X-rated teddy bears wearing bondage gear for Balenciaga’s BDSM-themed fashion shoot today defended the warped campaign. Pictured: One of the children in the campaign

Fashion brand Balenciaga has recently apologised for what many believe is a photoshoot that amounts to child pornography, with two young girls holding a teddy bear dressed in a BDSM outfit. Pictured: One of the children in the campaign

Fashion brand Balenciaga has recently apologised for what many believe is a photoshoot that amounts to child pornography, with two young girls holding a teddy bear dressed in a BDSM outfit. Pictured: One of the children in the campaign

Balenciaga – popular with A-list stars Kim Kardashian, Bella Hadid and Nicole Kidman – issued a full apology for the campaign, saying it ‘strongly’ condemned child abuse in all forms.

The Spanish fashion house and photographer Gabriele Galimberti faced a furious backlash but the father of one of the child models has now defended the shoot.

He said Galimberti was ‘innocent’ of any wrongdoing and revealed the models were all children of Balenciaga employees who were at the shoot and had approved the campaign.

Speaking anonymously, he said: ‘I feel desperately sorry for Gabriele, this had nothing directly to do with him and he was merely taking the photographs as requested by Balenciaga. The parents of the children were at the shoot and they approved of what took place.

Italian photographer Gabriele Galimberti took the shots of children holding a teddy bear dressed in a BDSM outfit that outraged hundreds of people online. The father of one of the girls said he feels 'desperately sorry' for him

Italian photographer Gabriele Galimberti took the shots of children holding a teddy bear dressed in a BDSM outfit that outraged hundreds of people online. The father of one of the girls said he feels ‘desperately sorry’ for him

‘Gabriele is an accomplished photographer and no way does he deserve the abuse he has been getting, the parents all knew what they were doing and the children had a fantastic time on the shoot.

‘His innocent and has been drawn into all this unfairly. It was a really enjoyable day but it has now all been ruined because people have taken it all out of context and created an international media storm.

‘If I felt at any time that it was inappropriate, I would have stepped in and I’m sure the other parents would have done the same, but no one did.’

Another source revealed to MailOnline the parents of the children had been ‘active participants’ in the day-long shoot in Paris earlier this month.

The Balenciaga photographer said he's being 'lynched' over bondage-themed campaign featuring children as he claims he had no creative control and hit back at the Spanish fashion house for threatening to sue him

The Balenciaga photographer said he’s being ‘lynched’ over bondage-themed campaign featuring children as he claims he had no creative control and hit back at the Spanish fashion house for threatening to sue him

The photos – which have now been removed from the firm’s website – showed a young ginger-haired child standing on a plush pink bed while holding a white teddy bag by its leather strap.

As well as having spiky leather bracelets around the bear’s arms and legs, the soft toy was dressed in a mesh crop top with a chain and padlock around its neck, while another appears to be wearing a black lace thong.

Outraged parents blasted the firm after images were posted on social media with one father saying: ‘Jesus, that’s just creepy and wrong’ while another wrote ‘this is definitely bizarre and unsettling’.

Balenciaga has deleted the images from its social media platforms and promised a ‘full investigation’.

The firm said that ‘plush bear bags should not have been featured with children in this campaign’.

The company also said that they are taking legal action ‘against the parties responsible for creating the set and including unapproved items for our Spring 23 campaign photoshoot’.

The statement went on to say: ‘We strongly condemn abuse of children in any form.’

Balenciaga apologised for the campaign and blamed the photographer for 'disgusting' campaign showing children holding bondage-clad teddy bear handbags

Balenciaga apologised for the campaign and blamed the photographer for ‘disgusting’ campaign showing children holding bondage-clad teddy bear handbags

On his Instagram page, Galimberti issued an apology saying that he was not in creative control of the shoot and merely was in charge of lighting.

He said: ‘I am not in a position to comment [on] Balenciaga’s choices, but I must stress that I was not entitled in whatsoever manner to neither chose [sic] the products, nor the models, nor the combination of the same.’

Galimberti continued: ‘As a photographer, I was only and solely requested to lit [sic] the given scene and take the shots according to my signature style.

‘As usual, the direction of the campaign and of the shooting are not on the hands of the photographer.’

He concluded: ‘I suspect that any person prone to paedophilia searches on the web and has unfortunately a too easy access to images completely different than mine, absolutely explicit in their awful content. Accusations like these are addressed against wrong targets, and distract from the real problem, and criminals.’

Galimberti has been featured in National Geographic, The Sunday Times, Stern, Geo, Le Monde, la Repubblica and Marie Claire, according to his website.

Balenciaga recently became one of the many brands to cut ties with rapper Kanye West after he made a series of anti-Semitic remarks.




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