Saint Laurent’s 2017 Campaign Sparks Public Uproar

A popular luxury brand is in hot water after the public urged French fashion House Saint Laurent to remove and modify two images from their latest campaign advertisement in early March.

Saint Laurent advert 2017. Photocredit: Twitter @sophiasept


Featuring female models in compromising positions, the publicity campaign sparked uproar on social media, leading to at least 50 formal complaints, all claiming the images were ‘degrading’ to women. In one image, a female model is reclining in fishnet stockings with her legs spread open. The second features another model in a tight leotard, stiletto roller-skates and bending over a stool.

The advert caught the attention of France’s advertising watchdog, the Autorité de Regulation Professionelle de la Publicaté (ARRP) who deemed the latest Saint Laurent advert a breach of moral dignity and respect.

Stéphane Martin, director of the ARRP stated the images “were an incitement for rape and wasn’t sure that the [Saint Laurent] clients would want to be associated with them”

As the models featured in the campaign were thin and posed in sexually explicit positions, people took to social media to complain that the images would create a negative impact on both fashion and figure conscious teenage girls and women. The public also believed that the recent campaign stood against the values of ‘modernity’, ‘youth’ and ‘freedom’, that Saint Laurent espouses. At this moment, an advertising ethics company (not associated with the ARRP) has formally requested the fashion house to withdraw the two images on the grounds of complaint.

Photo credit: The Dapifer


Martin also expressed his concern over how the latest Saint Laurent campaign was designed by an in-house team. He questions whether their new and young designer, Anthony Vaccarello, has ‘gone too far’ this time around. As a designer, Vaccarello was known for his ‘specific looks and bad taste’, especially when it came to fashion design. He tended to produce raunchy images that often hyper-sexualised his models and infused violent subtexts. For his latest spring show, Vacarello had his models wrapped in tight black leather skirts and dresses. One dress design exposed one of his model’s breasts much to to astonished onlookers. The gigantic rose choker didn’t seem to help with the effect…

Saint Laurent Spring 2017 collection. Photo credit: Dailymail UK


Surprisingly, this wasn’t the only year Saint Laurent produced a raunchy advert for their brand. In 2015, The British Advertising Standards Authority banned a Saint Laurent advert in 2015 for featuring an unhealthily underweight model whose ribcage was visible. Similar to the 2017 advert, the 2015 campaign received backlash amongst the public and damaged the confidence of women. The avert sparked so much uproar, it started a petition by an LA blogger for YSL “to stop using painfully thin models in their advertisements!”

Banned image from Saint Laurent advert – 2015. Photo credit: Dailymail UK


At this moment, Saint Laurent has yet to comment regarding the situation. Additionally, there has been little mention concerning when the two images will be removed and modified. Despite the setback, Saint Laurent still proves to be a leading figure for couture and modern fashion today. What’s fashion without a little controversy?