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Saint Laurent told its ads are “degrading to women” by French authorities

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The revered French fashion house Saint Laurent has been asked to change its Spring 2017 advertising campaign after being accused of featuring models in humiliating “porno chic” poses.

One image from the poster campaign, which was shot by famed fashion photography duo Inez and Vinoodh, shows a woman lying back in a fur coat and fishnet tights opening her legs.

In another, a model wearing nothing but a leotard and roller-skate stilettos is seen bending over a stool. Neither of the women’s faces are visible.

The campaign has so far only been displayed in Paris, and was intended to promote designer Anthony Vaccarello’s first collection for Saint Laurent.

The French advertising watchdog, Autorité de Régulation Professionnelle de la Publicité  (ARPP), said that it had received over 50 complaints about the way the women are portrayed in the campaign – mostly from people who saw the images as “incitement to rape”, the Guardian reports.


Read more: Casting director exposes inhumane side of Paris Fashion Week


Under the ARPP’s rules, all “degrading and humiliating representations of people” are banned. Stéphane Martin, the authority’s managing director, tells The Hollywood Reporter that the photos “suggest an idea of sexual submission, trivialise sexist stereotypes, and are in this sense likely to shock [public] sensibility”.

Anthony Vaccarello

The campaign was shot to promote Anthony Vaccarello's first collection for Saint Laurent.

Martin adds that the ARPP has asked YSL to “take all possible measures to stop the distribution of the campaign”.

A decision on whether the ARPP will take formal action against Saint Laurent will be made after a meeting with the label on Friday.

“I am not sure that [Saint Laurent’s] female clients would like to be associated with these images,” says Martin. “We had a similar type of porno chic [in fashion advertising] a decade ago, and here we have it coming back again, which isn’t acceptable.”


Read more: Modern women are happier with their bodies than ever before, study finds


Martin has also expressed concern at how thin the models in the campaign are.

Saint Laurent had not responded to requests for comment at the time of writing. However, it’s not the first time that the brand has been criticised for its advertising campaigns.

In 2015, the British advertising watchdog banned an “irresponsible” advert from the designer that showed an “unhealthily underweight” model lying on the floor.

Images: Rex Features

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