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Saint Laurent ‘Porno Chic’ Campaign Creates Controversy And Calls For It To Be Banned

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Sexually provocative posters criticized by French advertising watchdog and urged to be banned as they claim they incite rape.

“Porno-chic”:

French fashion house Saint Laurent criticized after featuring models in degrading poses for a publicity campaign.

The poster campaign in Paris, which has caused fury on social media, features a reclining woman in a fur coat and fishnet tights opening her legs, and another of a model in a leotard and roller-skate stilettos bending over a stool.

Stéphane Martin, director of the French advertising authority said most that of the complaints were from people who saw the images as an “incitement to rape” and that the brand appeared to have “incontestably breached” the rules.

He said: “I am not sure that [Saint Laurent’s] female clients would like to be associated with these images. 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.”

Martin added that they would decide on what action to take after a meeting with the label on Friday. All “degrading and humiliating representations of people” are barred by the authority and can demand that advertisers withdraw or change their campaigns.

Calls for the campaign to be pulled came also from France’s leading women’s group, Oséz le Feminisme! (“Dare to be Feminist!”) adding that this was not the first time Saint Laurent had crossed the line.

Controversial previous campaigns:

The group’s spokeswoman, Raphaëlle Rémy-Leleu, said that it previously caused controversy with another campaign that used “a very young hyper-sexualized woman”.

However, this time, the subtext was “extremely violent”. According to Rémy-Leleu, It ticks all the sexist boxes. The women are objectified, hyper-sexualized and put in submissive positions.

She said: “How do they think they will sell anything today to women with that? But you have to ask if that wasn’t intentional, that this was all about creating a scandal so we would talk about them.”

Two years ago, a Saint Laurent advert featuring a model whose ribcage was showing was banned by Britain’s advertising watchdog.

The latest campaign had been created by the Saint Laurent’s in-house team, according to Martin. He wondered whether Anthony Vaccarello, the fashion house’s new designer, had gone too far.

Vaccarello, a Belgian, has ramped up the sex factor in his first two shows for the brand. During his latest show last Tuesday, he gift-wrapped models in tight shiny leather mini dresses while his debut collection featured a dress that exposed one breast.

Martin said “We have a rather young designer known for his rather ‘specific’ looks.” It is possible that “in this rather closed world, with its specific codes, that they did not realize” the effect the adverts would have.