Lotta Volkova, a former Balenciaga stylist, is a name being tossed around online as a concerned public is trying to identify the culprit behind the luxury label's controversial campaigns, one of which made children pose with BDSM teddy bears.
Citizen journalists on social media—led by the investigative journalism of Twitter user @curioslight—have dug up Volkova's old Instagram posts that depict disturbing Satanic imagery, torture, mutilation, and gruesome violence against young children.
Images of a disemboweled child whose intestines are spilled out, a gagged-and-bound little girl taped to a chair, a blood-stained bedroom with bullets scattered about, and a baby being eaten alive are among the most nauseating content shared by Volkova.
Volkova also posted a photo of a red-headed model donning devilish garb and holding two baby dolls drenched in blood-colored red paint. A Getty Images photographer took the picture during a 2016 Mercedez-Benz China Fashion Week show.
Another image shared by Volkova shows a woman, who is nude from the waist down, lying on a pentagram on the floor where she is tied up by rope as a half-naked Satanic figure looms over her while sitting on a pentagram-shaped throne at her head.
Volkova has also posted a picture of herself wearing a white band T-shirt of "Cannibal Corpse" while inside a church. The death metal band known for its depictions of gore touts grotesque song titles, such as "I C*m Blood;" "Entrails Ripped from a Virgin's C*nt;" "Necropedophile;" "Stripped, Raped, and Strangled;" "Dismembered and Molested;" and "F*cked with a Knife."
Volkova is distancing herself from the Balenciaga brand after fierce backlash as the accusations spread. A spokesperson for Volkova told Newsweek, "she condemns the abuse of children in any form," underscoring that the freelance fashionista has not worked with Balenciaga's team since 2017 and "in no way participated in the brand's recent Instagram or advertising campaigns."
Volkova might not be the brains behind the operation. Nevertheless, the surmounting evidence indicates the depraved culture among Balenciaga's creative minds as Hollywood glamorizes the macabre and tries to normalize pedophilia.
The embattled stylist closely worked with Balenciaga's creative director Demna Gvasalia at the high-end fashion house and the brand Gvasalia co-created, Vetements, where Volkova was involved in "the casting, the styling, and...also consulting Demna," she told 032c magazine back in 2016. "Demna asked me to be involved. I'm a brand consultant; I take care of collections and fashion shows, from casting to style supervision," Volkova explained their collaborative relationship during a 2020 interview.
To call Volkova a stylist is "an understatement," enthused a write-up in W magazine from years ago. Volkova was "present at every fitting" for Balenciaga and Vetements, whose primary duties included "weighing in on fabrics" and "tweaking details."
Volkova is also friends with accused child predator Gosha Rubchinskiy, who allegedly pressured a 16-year-old boy to send nudes of himself. Rubchinskiy's team defended the messages with the minor, in which he allegedly asked the boy to take pictures in the bathroom to avoid his parents finding out, as part of a casting call: "This happens all the time...The person said he wasn't alone and couldn't take photo so Gosha suggested he just quickly goes to the bathroom and take a quick photo on the mirror..."
A representative for Rubchinskiy defended the designer to GQ magazine, asserting that he often asks minors for pictures of themselves, sometimes shirtless and stripped down. "It is a normal practice nowadays. We always ask to [sic] face photos, in full length and topless. Sometimes photos in underwear are required in order to understand the volume of hips," the rep said.
"Someone wrote that Lotta, Gosha, and I grew up on child pornography and radiation from Chernobyl, which is why we’re so f*cked up," Demna laughed off a remark in an interview, according to a 2016 article by i-D magazine published by Vice Media.
Vogue describes Volkova's work as one that emanates "part choir boy, part Lolita," a term referencing the eponymous Russian-American novel that narrates the kidnapping and rape of a 12-year-old girl from the romanticized POV of her abusive stepfather.
The Guardian applauded Volkova for having walked runways herself in the past. One modeling shoot posted to Volkova's now-private Instagram page shows her in a collar cuddling a teddy bear on a bed. Keys are situated next to Volkova on the bedsheets.
Teddy bears are a recurring fetishized theme in Volkova's social media posts. Rubchinskiy once commented on Volkova's post of a tied-up teddy bear with a winky face. Many believe it alludes to the "Pedobear" meme, which is affiliated with pedophiles.
Volkova is now facing the fire amid the torching of Balenciaga, which is accused of embracing child sexual exploitation with a photo shoot of children clutching teddy bears in BDSM costumes and the placement of printed material mentioning child porn.
To promote a new "Balenciaga Objects" collection, one of the Balenciaga campaigns under fire featured a photograph of a sullen child in a bedroom clenching a teddy bear-shaped Balenciaga bag accessorized with bondage, discipline, sadism, masochism (BDSM) gear, including a lock-and-chain necklace, fishnet vest, and leather straps around the stuffed animal's wrists and ankles.
Another eyebrow-raising advertisement pictured a frightened child grasping a Balenciaga teddy bear turned-handbag wearing a leather harness and a studded choker. Empty wine glasses were placed on a table in front of the child model.
The children in the Balenciaga ads were photographed by Gabriele Galimberti, who, over the summer, tweeted the headline of a Chicago Sun-Times column. "Why restrict child porn but not guns?" Galimberti wrote in a now-deleted Twitter post.
For its spring 2023 collection, an image from Balenciaga's collaboration with Adidas showcased a $3,450 striped black-and-white hourglass handbag resting on a pile of paperwork, including a page from the 2008 Supreme Court ruling United States vs. Williams, which upheld federal laws that criminalized the advertising, promoting, presenting, and distributing of child pornography. The text in the Balenciaga X Adidas advert was an excerpt from the court's opinion mentioning "virtual child pornography."
Balenciaga's BDSM-ad scandal has ignited a firestorm of controversy, with eagle-eyed watchdogs scrutinizing every element of the promotion. A viral TikTok video alleges that there's demonic paraphernalia embedded in one of the Balenciaga campaign photographs, including a child's drawing of the devil taped to the bookshelf in the background, a black hood similar to the hooded cloaks worn by Satanic cult members, and the boy's bright-red shoes that "look like the devil staring you right in the face," the narrator in the 45-second clip declares. The voiceover also highlights the singular candle sitting adjacent like a séance prop.
A roll of yellow Balenciaga tape with the brand's name misspelled with two As, spelling "Baal," is also pointed out. Baal is an ancient Middle Eastern fertility deity whose followers, including the Canaanites, were infamous for sacrificing children.
It just so happens that Volkova posted an image of Moloch, a Canaanite deity associated in biblical sources with the practice of child sacrifice. The name derives from combining the consonants of the Hebrew melech ("king") with the vowels of boshet ("shame"), while the latter is often used in the Old Testament as a variant name for Baal, as Britannica explains.
Other observers claimed that the beige Balenciaga rug on which the child model was standing resembled a Ouija board.
The devil is in the details, right?
Suppose you fall further down the rabbit hole. In that case, another problematic Balenciaga picture portrays a stack of books on a desk, where the top one is by artist Michael Borremans, who's the author of "Fire from the Sun," which includes works that illustrate "toddlers engaged in playful but mysterious acts with sinister overtones and insinuations of violence," per the piece of literature's online description.
The paintings in the graphic book show blood-covered, toddler-aged children running around naked and holding bloody, severed body parts. Drawings of children dressed in occult-like costumes, wearing all-black hooded gowns, are also included. One of these drawings shows a circle of black-clad children gathered around a large rodent for what appears to be a sacrificial ritual.
It's also been revealed that billionaire François-Henri Pinault, the CEO, and chairman of Balenciaga's multinational parent corporation Kering, has ties to an auction site that sells expensive child-sex mannequins with genitalia for faces.
Christie's auction house, owned by Pinault's holding company Groupe Artémis, listed two "art" installations called "F*ck Face" focusing on children. One figurine is of a toddler with an erect penis in the place of his nose and an anus for his mouth that sold for £115,250. The other sculpture is of a naked prepubescent girl with the same explicit body parts as her facial features.
Another listing, titled "Two-Faced F*cking C*nt," is a statue of conjoined twin girls with a vagina connecting the sisters at the neck, while a similar piece, labeled "F*ck Face Twin," portrays a pair of unclothed children bent over with penis-and-anus faces.
A massive sold-out showcase on Christie's site transforms the Garden of Eden into a hellscape of orgies populated by "frolicking child mutants" in varying sex positions with "repositioned sexual organs," as the lot is described. One of the notorious artists, who's one-half of the Chapman Brothers sculpting duo, told the Independent in a 2014 interview: "Children are not human yet."