A weak strategy

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A weak strategy

I’d apologise for using this column to write about Balenciaga for a third time, only I don’t feel sorry for what I’m about to say – just grateful that I’m free to say it. I wasn’t at the Paris show, but social media availed me of designer Demna Gvasalia’s press release. “Fashion has become a kind of entertainment, but often that part overshadows the essence of it,”

he wrote, failing to mention Balenciaga’s own part in making it entertainment by casting three year-old children in an ad campaign replete with references to child pornography, BDSM and Satanism. 

The brand clearly thinks – and is certainly hoping – that by putting on a toned down show that “focuses on the clothes”, we’ll all forget about the scandal. The worst thing? Most people probably will. Before long, Kim Kardashian and other celebrity fans will shrug, say “everyone makes mistakes” and start taking Balenciaga’s money again. 

I would love to know what PRs make of Balenciaga: The Contrite Era. Someone has been paid handsomely to come up with what, to me, is a weak strategy. Gvasalia opened his press release detailing how, as a six year-old, his parents had let him design his own trousers, choosing his own fabric and visiting a tailor for fittings. Was this meant to make him sound endearing? Relatable? Massive fail: it simply traced the genesis of an entitlement that led, as most entitlement does, to being out of touch with most right thinking people’s moral compass. In the face of the fashion industry’s relative indifference, it falls to us, the consumers, to act: by spending our money elsewhere. 

What Laura Thinks…

“I received this as the snow was unexpectedly falling, and appreciated its clear messaging – even down to the snowflake emojis. Clothes for cold weather: not a groundbreaking pitch, but a useful one on that particular day. Sometimes, that’s all it takes…”

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