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Gucci Draws Criticism for Ad Featuring Harry Styles and a Crib Mattress

This week, kering, the parent company of troubled luxury brand Balenciaga, is facing another PR snafu over criticism of a promotional image featuring Harry Styles for another of the company’s brands, Gucci.

In the November 2nd-released Gucci ad campaign, Styles wears a teddy bear T-shirt while posing next to a crib mattress. Additionally, teddy bears were at the center of the Balenciaga ad campaign controversy, which prompted many to condemn or boycott the brand for producing disturbing images of children.

“Play is at the heart of the Gucci HA HA HA collection…its name is the onomatopoeic sound of the written essence of the ‘laughing face’ emoji, as well as the serial crisis of the initials of ‘Harry’ and ‘Alessandro,'” the brand said in November when the campaign, which they referred to as a “performance piece,” was released.

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“It evolves into a ‘dream wardrobe’ that reflects the two creative spirits behind the collection, beginning with the small oddities that come together in childlike visions.”


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Some social media users criticized the advertisement as yet another fashion faux pas, including Alexandra Gucci Zarina, whose great-grandfather founded the Gucci fashion house.

“Why would you use a toddler’s mattress and an adult man to create a ‘performance piece’?” Zarina published to Instagram. “My concerns are that Kering’s fashion houses appear to share a common ideology.”

“A toddler mattress with an adult and a stuffed animal on his shirt… “Symbolism will be their undoing,” remarked a second individual.

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Alessandro Michele, the former creative director of Gucci, conceived the campaign; Gucci announced in late November that Michele would be leaving his position after seven years. The Daily Beast sought comments from Gucci, Michele, and Styles.

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