Saint Laurent Was Asked to Change “Degrading to Women” Spring Ads by French Authorities

Days after showing a critically lauded fall 2017 collection during Paris Fashion Week, French fashion house Saint Laurent is in a bit of hot water over images French advertising authorities are calling “degrading to women.”

France’s advertising watchdog, Autorité de Régulation Professionnelle de la Publicité (ARPP), asked the fashion brand to change two images from its spring 2017 campaign after receiving over 50 complaints about the way the ads portray women. The first photo shows a model in a leotard and stiletto roller skates bending over a stool, and the other shows a woman in fishnets and a fur coat lying on her stomach with her legs spread. The pictures were taken by famed fashion photographer duo Inez and Vinoodh to showcase designer Anthony Vaccarello’s debut collection for the brand.

In an email interview with The Hollywood Reporter, ARPP managing director Stephane Martin said that the photos “suggest an idea of sexual submission, trivialize sexist stereotypes, and are in this sense likely to shock [public] sensibility.” According to Martin, the agency has “asked YSL to take all possible measures to stop the distribution of this campaign.” Martin also expressed concern over how thin the models in the campaign are, due to the potential impact it may have on fashion-conscious teenage girls—a concern that led France to establish a bill for ensuring a model’s healthy weight before they’re able to work in the country.

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This isn’t the first time that Saint Laurent has faced criticism over its advertisements. Under the helm of former creative head Hedi Slimane, the brand’s spring-summer 2015 campaign was banned in the U.K. for featuring a shockingly thin model. A U.K. watchdog agency called the ad “irresponsible” due to how prominently 18-year-old Kiki Willems’ rib cage was shown in the photos.

The advertising ethics jury will rule on the most recent round of complaints on Friday, and may ask Saint Laurent to withdraw the ads if the complaints are deemed valid. Saint Laurent has yet to respond to the controversy, but we have reached out for comment.

 

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