One of the controversial YSL ads is displayed on a Paris newsstand.


AD BAN: Yves Saint Laurent’s controversial spring advertising campaign has been removed from billboards across France under orders from the nation’s Advertising Watchdog, according to reports.

The Autorité de Régulation Professionnelle de la Publicité, or ARPP, had asked the Kering-owned brand to cease distributing the ads, and to modify the visuals, after receiving a number of complaints that they allegedly feature “degrading” images of women.

The two targeted visuals, for Anthony Vaccarello’s debut collection for the label, feature models in fishnet tights and high-heeled roller-skates, legs splayed, including one leaning over a stool in a suggestive position.

Displayed on around 250 billboards across France — mainly in Paris — with the ad also running in a number of luxury titles, the ads are said to have been taken down during the night of Wednesday following some 200 complaints. French women’s rights minister Laurence Rossignol during an interview with local radio station France 2 is also said to have criticized the ads. Neither Saint Laurent nor an ARPP spokesman could be reached by press time for confirmation.

ARPP general manager Stéphane Martin had earlier told WWD that the complaints have included that the images are “demeaning,” “an incitation to rape” and “encouraging anorexia.”

“We have alerted the advertiser, who is a member of ARPP, that these images do not conform with our code of conduct,” he said. “Respect for creative freedom is one thing, but there is also respect for the consumer.

“The brand needs to ask itself what image it is giving, especially to impressionable young people,” he said. “This could have a broader impact, for the brand’s beauty products, for example.”

Saint Laurent’s beauty license is held by L’Oréal, and was one of the beauty giant’s fastest-growing properties in the past year thanks to strong business in fragrance and makeup.

It is not the first time the brand has gotten into hot water for its portrayal of women in its advertising. The U.K.’s advertising watchdog banned a Saint Laurent advert for spring 2015, when Hedi Slimane was at the design helm of the brand, on the grounds that the model in it “appeared unhealthily underweight.”

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