Kim Kardashian has made the bold decision to re-ignite her relationship with fashion house Balenciaga just over a year after a slew of controversies massively tarnished the brand’s reputation. In a statement released on Monday 22 January 2024, the reality TV star officially announced that she will become Balenciaga’s new brand ambassador.
Kardashian expressed her longstanding connection with Balenciaga: “For several years now, Balenciaga’s designs have been a part of my many looks—and some of my most iconic fashion moments. This historic fashion house embraces modernity, craftsmanship and takes an innovative approach to design under Demna [Gvsalia]. For me, this long-standing relationship is built on mutual trust and a commitment to doing what’s right. I’m excited about this next chapter for the brand and to become their ambassador.”
In November 2022, Balenciaga came under fire for its ‘Gift Shop’ campaign which featured six children clutching destroyed teddy bear handbags—a concept which had first been presented during the brand’s Spring 2023 runway show in Paris. The bears had black eyes, fishnet tops, and leather harnesses. In the campaign, the kids had wine glasses and other gift items displayed around them.
The images immediately garnered mass criticism online, with many netizens condemning the juxtaposition of children with what looked like ‘bondage paraphernalia’.
Then, what felt like only days later, Balenciaga began releasing images from its 2023 Garde-Robe advertising campaign—which included Nicole Kidman, Isabelle Huppert, and Bella Hadid.
In one of the campaign’s images, a $3,000 Balenciaga x Adidas Hourglass handbag was photographed on a desk along with printed copies of legal-looking documents. Social media users who zoomed in on the paper discovered that it was the Supreme Court’s 2008 decision in US versus Williams. This was a monumental case in the US that decided whether laws banning the promotion of child pornography curtailed First Amendment freedom of speech rights.
Safe to say, this was the nail in the coffin for a lot of people. Despite multiple apologies, lots of people felt as though the brand was well and truly tarnished.
However, it seems as though Kardashian is firmly standing by the Kering-owned fashion house.
It makes sense to some extent. The SKIMS founder has been a long-term fan of the brand and was even accompanied by creative director Demna Gvasalia to the 2021 Met Gala. At the event, she wore a custom all-back look comprised of a face-obscuring mask, tunic-length T-shirt, bodysuit, elbow-length gloves and the label’s polarising “pantashoes.”
Immediately following the scandal, Kardashian released this statement: “As a mother of four, I have been shaken by the disturbing images. The safety of children must be held with the highest regard and any attempts to normalise child abuse of any kind should have no place in our society—period.”
Shortly after, the 43-year-old added: “As for my future with Balenciaga, I am currently re-evaluating my relationship with the brand, basing it off their willingness to accept accountability for something that should have never happened to begin with and the actions I am expecting to see them take to protect children.”
Kardashian clearly feels as though it’s now an appropriate time to emphasise her loyalty to the brand…