The latest goddess-inspired collection from a whale-loving Byron Bay swimsuit designer has sparked outrage in India.
Demonstrators in Amritsar burned the Australian flag and waved placards on Sunday in protest at a skimpy swimsuit print depicting the Hindu goddess Lakshmi, which was shown at Australian Fashion Week.
The swimsuit, from Byron Bay label Lisa Blue, shows Lakshmi - the goddess of wealth and beauty - on the front and back of the cutaway design.
Media in India expressed their dismay at the depiction, prompting the label's creator, Lisa Burke, to issue an apology on Facebook and Twitter.
"This range will never be available for sale in any stockists or retail outlets anywhere in the world," Ms Burke posted on the label's Facebook page on Saturday.
"We apologise to the Hindu community and take this matter very seriously."
But the statement was not enough.
Protesters who took to the street in the north west Indian city of Amritsar, waving photos of the swimsuit and burning the Australian flag, continued demonstrations over the weekend.
The Bharatiya Janata Partya party called for an apology from the Australian government, according to London's Telegraph.
And the president of the Universal Society of Hinduism was quoted in the North India Times saying the religion's deities deserved respect.
"Lakshmi was meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not for pushing swimwear in fashion shows for mercantile greed of an apparel company," president Rajan Zed said.
Ms Burke issued a second apology on Saturday afternoon, saying: "We would like to offer an apology to anyone we may have offended and advise that the image of Goddess Lakshmi will not appear on any piece of Lisa Blue swimwear for the new season, with a halt put on all production of the new range and pieces shown on the runway from last week removed".
She also posted this statement: "Lisa Blue has been born out of a love of conservation, spirituality and a respect for all people. At no time would we ever have intended that the brand would cause offence. The use of images of Goddess Lakshmi was not in any way a measure of calculated risk taking, simply it was a desire to celebrate different cultures and share that through our brand".
And a statement addressing the issue was posted on the label's website yesterday.
The label's Facebook page has become a site for vigorous debate over reactions to the print, which was shown as part of a divinity-inspired collection in Sydney on Thursday.
Ms Burke says she created the label Lisa Blue after having a life-changing moment in the presence of a Humpback whale and its baby in Tonga.
"'Lisa Blue' represents the girl of the future who can be sexy, beautiful, powerful and environmentally aware at the same time," she says on the label's website.
"She is not afraid to share her beauty with the world and so shows other girls that they too can shine."
The label says it donates 25 per cent of net profits towards protecting the whales and dolphins.
smh.com.au has tried to contact Ms Burke.
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