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Vogue recently published the first interview Balenciaga designer Demna has done since the brand’s ad campaign scandals burst into the news late last year. The campaigns led to widespread accusations that the brand was promoting child pornography. Obviously, this is one of the last things a brand would want, and at least one financial report reflected this: HSBC noted that fourth quarter earnings “could be as bad as it gets” for Balenciaga parent company Kering. The bank blamed the campaign scandals for hampering the brand’s “hyper-growth mode.”
So, a lot was on the line when Demna sat down with an unknown representative from Vogue (Vogue did not byline the story, which is not typical for this kind of piece). The first person I wanted to chat about it with was Eugene Rabkin, the founder of Style Zeitgeist and one of fashion’s most fiercely independent critics.
Eugene has been critical of Demna’s tenure at Balenciaga. Last year, I interviewed Eugene about why he believes fashion shouldn’t be political. He was unafraid to call Demna’s show paying homage to Ukrainian refugees “distasteful.”
I hope you enjoy our discussion and I’d love to know what you think of the Vogue interview (and Back Row in audio). Send me an email by replying to this message or drop a note in the comments.
Earlier in Back Row: Balenciaga Tried to Blame Contractors. It Failed.