The Italian luxury brand issued an apology after content from a recently released campaign starring model Mitsuki Kimura (known widely as Koki) received criticism on Japanese social media platforms.
In the ad, which has since been removed from Valentino’s online channels, Kimura poses in heels on a piece of fabric that for many users resembled an obi, or kimono sash, that was laid on the ground. Online, commentators decried the placement of the sash as a symbol of traditional Japanese culture and the fact that it was “stomped on” by a model in shoes; some deemed the visual blasphemous.
“The fabric resembles the Japanese traditional obi and Maison Valentino deeply apologises for any offence caused,” a spokesperson said, emphasising the brand’s commitment to “nurturing a culture of equality and inclusion on a global scale.”
The spokesperson added that the campaign, which also features Korean actress Son Ye-jin and Chinese actress Guan Xiaotong, seeks to highlight a connection between global communities and cultures.