When it comes to strange looks and head-turning styles, Balenciaga is an expert. From the Defender tire sneakers to the Le Cagole boot bag, the Parisian fashion house has a reputation for designing items that will make your jaw drop. Although many of their creations are simply peculiar yet innovative, Balenciaga has also been involved in some scandals due to their persistence in uncanny designs.
What comes to mind when you think of strange Balenciaga products? Is it their collaboration with Crocs, in which they created an unthinkable cross between stilettos and Crocs? Or is it the denim/sweatpant hybrid that features distressed denim trousers that reveal the track pants stitched underneath, allowing you to wear two styles in one? Perhaps it is the various shows it has presented over the years that have always ended up as the talk of the town: Spring/Summer 2020 featured humongous puffer jackets with exaggerated shoulders, Autumn/Winter 2023 features its looks through a snowstorm, and Spring/Summer 2023 sends every item through mud and grime. Without a doubt, Balenciaga knows how to shine in the spotlight and attract the attention of everyone, lovers and haters alike.
However, this type of innovation with style does not always go well, as demonstrated in Balenciaga’s latest ad scandal. In November 2022, the brand released an ad campaign where children were pictured holding teddy bears in bondage harnesses and costumes. This quickly received backlash, as people questioned the brand’s decision to show children with suggestive material; what made matters worse was the release of a separate ad campaign that showed a Balenciaga bag atop court documents related to child pornography. Since then, Balenciaga has issued a formal apology for their mistakes and has taken responsibility for their actions, but the fallout from the scandals has persisted.
Balenciaga has always been at the forefront of fashion, experimenting with various uncanny styles and designs. However, its recent stylistic choices have been questionable at best and irredeemable at worst. Perhaps the brand has lost its way in its search for uniqueness; can it find its way back?