Balenciaga spotlights craft on first runway since ad controversy

Balenciaga French fashion house Kering turned its attention to fashion construction on Sunday for its first catwalk show since the backlash of its ad campaign last year.

Criticized for a campaign featuring images of children, the label showed body-hugging silhouettes with big shoulders and a unique line-up of full-length, shimmering eveningwear on a white-carpeted runway in Paris.

Balenciaga designer Demna Gvasalia, better known by her moniker Demna, told reporters after the show: “It was a challenge for me to make it happen.”

“I wanted to make it so I could continue and do what I do best, which is making clothes,” she said.

The designer and Kering executives have apologized for the ad campaign, which was criticized for showing images that many children consider inappropriate. The group plans to name a head of “brand safety” following the backlash.

Balenciaga is just one of several brands currently under pressure to defend sales following a series of public relations embarrassments, including a spat between Adidas and rapper and fashion designer Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, after he made anti-Semitic remarks online.

Kering, which suffered a year-end sales slump from its biggest brand Gucci hit by China’s COVID-19 lockdown, said last month that Balenciaga’s sales fell due to the controversy in November and December.

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