Harry Styles is facing criticism for a new fashion campaign he did with Gucci that has fans recalling the recent Balenciaga fiasco.
The 28-year-old singer is featured in the new campaign that debuted on social media earlier this month.
“A performance piece starring #HarryStyles and the #GucciHAHAHA collection,” the brand tweeted of the collaboration. In it, Styles can be seen switching outfits and acting silly. But the parallels between this campaign and the disastrous Balenciaga BDSM-themed photoshoot featuring children holding teddy bears in bondage gear that has people talking.
In one shot, the “Night Changes” singer can be seen wearing a shirt with a pink teddy bear on it while posing next to what appears to be a child-sized mattress. In another, Styles carries the mattress around under his arm.
A performance piece starring #HarryStyles and the #GucciHAHAHA collection. Discover the campaign https://t.co/6SWoX3NzMP @Harry_Styles pic.twitter.com/urKTJRB50m
— gucci (@gucci) December 12, 2022
“I want more berries and that summer feeling,” the shirt says, which is a lyric from the singer’s Grammy-winning 2019 song “Watermelon Sugar.”
Critics also pointed out how both Balenciaga and Gucci are owned by the French luxury goods company Kering.
“@gucci Why would you create a ‘performance piece’ with a toddler’s mattress and an adult man?” Gucci family member Alexandra Gucci Zarini shared on Instagram. “My concerns are that there seems to be a common ideology across Kering’s Fashion Houses.”
“Gucci was created to be the most elegant brand with the highest quality product. The direction it seems to be taking now is concerning. The protection of children should always come first and not be laughed at,” she also wrote on Twitter.
“Gucci [is] having Harry Styles pose alongside a child’s mattress with a pink teddy bear shirt. Why are all fashion brand ad makers sick creeps?” political commentator Sophie Cochran shared in a tweet.
“Are you kidding me? A grown man with a toddler mattress?!” Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Katrina Scott wrote in the Instagram comments. “What is going on with these brands?!”
Styles previously admitted that the song “Watermelon Sugar” referenced on his teddy bear shirt is about the female orgasm and the “sweetness” of life. Despite the hidden adult themes, the song has been very popular with young children.
“Sometimes you’ll meet people, and they’ll be like, ‘Oh, can you meet my child? They’re a massive fan,’ and the child’s like 18 months old. This person’s a massive fan?” Styles told Rolling Stone of the phenomenon in August.
“And I remember someone coming up to me at a party with their son, who was really small, and he started singing ‘Watermelon Sugar,’ and I was like, ‘Oh, okay.'”
“It wasn’t a single when we put [it] out,” he continued. “It was just like, ‘Okay, interesting … This is a high volume of videos of small children singing the song.'”