Saint laurent ad 001

Saint Laurent Causes Outrage In France With 'Porno Chic' Ads

French authorities asked to ban sexually provocative posters amid claims they incite rape.


It’s no secret that Saint Laurent is provocative. The luxury French design house is a serious #FreeTheNipple advocate, but the label’s latest ad campaign proved to be too sensual. Now, Saint Laurent is in hot water with French advertising authorities. 

France’s advertising watchdog asked Saint Laurent to remove two of its Spring 2017 campaign images after 50 complaints were lodged claiming the ads were “demeaning” to women and an “incitation to rape.” The first photo shows a reclining woman with her legs spread open while the other reveals a model in a leotard and roller skate stilettos bending over a stool. 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, Autorité de Régulation Professionnelle de la Publicité  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.” 

This is not the first time Saint Laurent has faced some serious criticism for its photos. Under Hedi Slimane, the brand’s SS15 campaign was banned from the U.K. due to how prominently a thin model’s ribcage was showing. 

“The brand needs to ask itself what image it is giving, especially to impressionable young people,” Martin critiqued. “This could have a broader impact…” 

The advertising ethics committee will rule on the complaints on Friday, and if the criticisms are deemed valid, Saint Laurent will be forced to remove the images in France. 

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