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Balenciaga to focus on collections and heritage, not hype

By Don-Alvin Adegeest


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Fashion |Opinion

Image: Balenciaga

Ahead of Paris fashion week, Balenciaga creative director Demna has let it be known the house will not seek to create buzz via controversy for its upcoming show, instead focusing on product, heritage and craftsmanship.

After a series of high profile faux pas, from a campaign that featured children, props that included a Supreme Court ruling concerning child pornography, and a relationship with troubled collaborator Ye, also known as Kanye West, who’s anti-semitic remarks attracted a slew of criticism and termination of contracts, Balenciaga, while not exactly pariah status, was certainly outcast after it offered muted apologies before issuing a proper mea culpa.

But like most things in fashion, it took a season for some reflection, some accountability and to deliver a new strategy that had both creative director Demna and CEO Cédric Charbit take public responsibility for the brand’s missteps. Kering is yet to release its Q4 financial report, the period when sales were at the height of the Balenciaga scandal, and the results are likely to show some impact on the brand's hyper growth trajectory.

Kering yet to report Q4 financials

An HSBC report released in January suggest the worst is likely over at Balenciaga, where it saw "delays in tourism-related spending" and “longer-term pain from the recent PR problems.”

In an interview with Vogue Demna stated: “I have decided to go back to my roots in fashion as well as to the roots of Balenciaga, which is making quality clothes—not making image or buzz.”

“What I realized of this situation is that making clothes is what makes me most happy. I was cutting and sewing garments with my team throughout most of December last year. I reconnected with where I started, and I realized the importance of it to me. It’s a serious job, you know, to make clothes. It’s not about creating image or buzz or any of those things. I am back to making jackets. That’s where this house started, and that’s where I started as a designer.”

Kering will release its Q4 revenues on February 15th. Balenciaga will show its Fall 2023 womenswear collection in Paris on March 5th.

cedric charbit