The two casting agents fired by Balenciaga after reports emerged that they left 150 optioned models in a pitch black stairwell for hours, have labelled the allegations as "inaccurate and libelous."
Maida Gregori Boina wrote to BoF via email that she intended to "set the record straight", stating none of the alleged abuse occurred the way casting director James Scully wrote in his social media post.
"...the models did not wait for three hours in the dark, not even one hour. We personally ate our lunch in the casting facility and — without question — we did not lock the models in the stairwell and turn out the lights. That would be completely inhumane.
"Throughout the entire process, we provided the most comfortable accommodations allowable based on the facilities provided," Boina added, before stating the casting conditions were less than ideal.
Balenciaga sought for Boina and Rami Fernandes to consider 150 models for 57 slots over 10 hours. During this time the building's electricity went out – confirmed by Charbit – and the reception of Balenciaga's headquarters was unavailable, forcing models to wait in the staircase.
Boina said the fashion house did not follow up with neither her nor Fernandes to understand what actually happened and clarified that Balenciaga organized the location for the casting while "its senior staff was present and actively involved at all times."
Boina and Fernandes commended Scully his work in highlighting abuse and discrimination in the fashion industry, though Scully has stuck by his original statement, telling BoF that this behaviour was not a one-off.
"What Maida and Rami did, they have been doing for a long time," he said. "They are the king and queen of abuse. I've heard stories from girls who were left waiting for so long without food or water that they ordered a pizza, and Maida came out and started shouting at them and calling them pigs."
Other models also corroborated Scully's claim that the duo were "serial abusers". Former model Judith Schiltz wrote in the comments section that she had experienced similar treatment by the casting agents in question.
"Maida would request me season after season to do the exact same thing," she said. "Lock me in a room for 3 hours while everyone panicked, only to never, ever book me. The apology to the agencies from the fashion house is laughable because the agents have known this for years and don't think twice because they want their girl in the show."
In his post, Scully also alleged that Lanvin issued a mandate asking to be sent white models only. Lanvin's show on Wednesday featured forty-two looks and only two models of color, among them supermodel Joan Smalls.