Balenciaga to show at Paris Fashion Week: Cancelled no more?
Balenciaga will present at Paris Fashion Week in March, putting to rest rumors that the brand will skip the event in the wake of its huge ad debacle.
On January 30, fashion insider @stylenotcom posted the date and time of Balenciaga’s Fall/Winter 2023 runway show – March 5, 11:30 a.m., Paris time — on Instagram, and other sites followed suit. Balenciaga has not yet confirmed the show’s date and hour.
Balenciaga’s (presumed) return to the catwalk followed its unexpected fall from industry favorite to failure. In November 2022, Balenciaga unveiled a Christmas gifting campaign depicting children with teddy bear-shaped bags adorned with leather straps and harnesses, which were interpreted by some as BDSM gear.
Critics condemned Balenciaga for exploiting minors by displaying children beside bears dressed in leather.
In a different campaign, a Balenciaga bag appeared atop a stack of court documents displaying a quote from United States v. Williams, a Supreme Court decision upholding a federal law that criminalizes the advertising, promotion, presentation, and distribution of child pornography. Drawing a connection between the appearance of those documents and Balenciaga’s holiday giving campaign, some constructed an elaborate theory linking the brand to an alleged child abuse plot.
Balenciaga eventually expressed regret for both efforts, but the harm had already been done. It was contaminated in the court of public and celebrity opinion: Kim Kardashian, one of creative director Demna’s most vocal advocates, ceased wearing Balenciaga in public. On TikTok, a large number of upset creators cut their City bags and threw away their Triple S sneakers in protest.
In January, Balenciaga did not participate in Paris Couture Week, a choice that may have been influenced by its recent incident.
Nonetheless, the firm has been gradually and discretely reentering the public sphere. It published photographs of their Garde-Robe 2023 collection on Instagram last week, marking its first post since December 2022.
The upcoming runway presentation by Balenciaga raises various questions. Will it address the dispute? Who is expected to attend? And are consumers willing to forget and forgive?