This was a pretty short purgatory for Balenciaga. Back in late November, Balenciaga plummeted out of favor after a disturbing ad campaign, for which the brand first tried to scapegoat the company behind the ads — a stance on which it had to backtrack after all KINDS of sources were basically like, “You guys were on-set, and also, there is literally no way you didn’t know what this campaign was.” Eventually the house issued an apology, as did the designer Denma. He then tried to curry favor with a very streamlined collection on his next runway, after many seasons of what came across to me like total self-indulgent bullshit, like the one with an actual bespoke stench. Or the fake blizzard. Or the one at the stock market. He also did a Mea Culpa interview with Vogue.
Anyway, as it always is with fashion, the question was less whether anyone would forgive and forget, and more how quickly they would do it. Kim Kardashian, one of Denma’s biggest supporters and who did eventually issue a statement lightly distancing herself, waited a whole four months — and, as Page Six notes, switching to brands… like D&G — before re-emerging on Instagram in Balenciaga. Presumably she accepted Denma’s public apologies. But I did NOT guess that Balenciaga’s first major red-carpet gets — unless I’m forgetting someone — would be Michelle Yeoh and Isabelle Huppert. I could have bought that neither of these women is paying attention to any of this, but Huppert actually appeared in one of the campaigns (though not with any overtly gross materials, though the Internet was closely studying the books behind her in the shot). Presumably she’s… not too fussed about it? Or also feels like he’s apologized enough? Time will tell whether it gets him away from being the fashion world’s equivalent of a morning-radio Shock Jock. But as far as the politics of optics go: It’s a very, very large stage for a very besmirched designer to debut two custom looks on two legends. One has to assume that’s what’ll get other celebs and stylists back on the phone with him.