Balenciaga is slated to take part in the upcoming season of Paris Fashion Week following its explosive ad scandal. The damage has been done but, is the fashion industry ready to forgive and forget?
Last November, the Kering-owned brand released a holiday gifting campaign that featured children photographed alongside teddy bear-shaped purses in leather straps and harnesses that some perceived as BDSM gear. Exploiting minors was the major issue, but Balenciaga’s second campaign solidified the damage. A Balenciaga bag was photographed on a pile of legal documents bearing a comment from United States v. Williams, a Supreme Court ruling that upheld a federal law that criminalizes anything surrounding the subject of child pornography. The link between both Balenciaga campaigns provided an elaborate theory involving the brand and a supposed child abuse scheme.
Now that Balenciaga is creeping back slowly (and quietly) – its wiped-Instagram page shared images of its Garde-Robe 2023 collection only last week – the upcoming runway show raises several questions. Will its show on March 5 address the controversy? And after many Balenciaga owners and celebrities, Kim Kardashian included, stopped wearing the collection, who will be in attendance and sitting front row?
We’ll just have to wait and find out.