What Do Critics Think of Balenciaga’s Comeback Show?

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balenciaga fall 2023 ready-to-wear Paris Fashion Week demna

Last year, Balenciaga went from being the hottest fashion brand in the world to being accused of promoting pedophilia.

Balenciaga stores were vandalized and sales took a huge hit after the brand was accused of sexualizing children in two controversial holiday ad campaigns.

On Sunday, Balenciaga returned to the runway at Paris Fashion Week with its first “make or break” show since the scandal.

With no celebrities in attendance, Balenciaga’s artistic director Demna Gvasalia promised the show would be “nothing to see but clothes.”

What were the critic’s opinions on Balenciaga’s show?

  • “True to his [Demna’s] word there was nothing else to see: no Kardashians on the front row, and no Hadids on the catwalk….. But even as we sat in silence beneath Paris’s most well-known building, it felt surprising that Demna was still here.” — The Guardian

  • “Was it a different Balenciaga? Not at all… Rounded and high-shouldered men’s jackets in black leather made the models look hunchbacked and predatory — interesting, yes, but perhaps not the best look for Balenciaga right now. The pleated, cape-back evening dresses may do more for its image rehabilitation, if the brand can get them on the red carpet again.” — The Financial Times

  • “In the end, it was great to see the clothes without drama — and to see how Demna added to his language at Balenciaga and offered enough new fashion.” — The Cut

  • “Aside from the styling, there is one far more radical change on the way for Balenciaga. It was heralded only by its absence — the fact that the clothes and accessories were wiped clean of logos. The attraction of highly visible branding has been part and parcel of the cult of Balenciaga that Demna has brought to popular street culture everywhere.” — Vogue

  • “The danger in taking the entertainment out of fashion is… it’s less entertaining!… It remains to be seen how Balenciaga customers will respond to this quieter era, which Demna said he would continue to move forward in a more ‘profound’ way. It’s a lot easier to get excited about social media lightning than the finer points of armhole construction.” — GQ

  • “Much of the collection was what might politely be called difficult. Yet Gvasalia’s track record shows he is a master at making the difficult commercial. What we don’t know is whether he has the wherewithal to triumph over an entirely different kind of difficult. Time will tell.” — The Times of London