(CNN) — Luxury fashion house Balenciaga has unveiled a new campaign promoting a range of brushed-up sneakers with a staggering price tag, and the internet is concerned.
Photographer Leopold Duchemin for the brand shot images of badly worn and distressed shoes that went viral following the launch of the couture brand’s new Paris sneaker on Monday.
But the photos of the destroyed sneakers keeps circulating Social media doesn’t exactly tell the whole story. Although they’ve caused the most controversy, the images actually show exaggerated, limited-edition versions of the sneakers that are Balenciaga sale.
According to the fashion house, only 100 pairs of “extra destroyed” sneakers will be available for $1,850. Meanwhile, the non-limited edition and less chunky versions are sold on Balenciaga’s website for $495 and $625, depending on the style.
In a press release, the Paris-based brand said the campaign photos show the shoes “extremely worn, marked and dirty.”
The still life portraits are said to “suggest that Paris sneakers are destined to be worn for a lifetime” – a point that feels particularly relevant given the growing conversation surrounding the subject fast fashion industry and the impact of overconsumption on the planet.
Demna is known for his disruptive flair and the Paris sneaker launch isn’t the first time his designs have met with amused reactions.
Balenciaga released one in 2017 bag that cost $2,145 which was ridiculed for its resemblance to Ikea’s “Frakta” bag. The original Ikea bag was available for 99 cents back then.
Balenciaga describes the sneaker as a “retrofitted classic design” that features “aged canvas and rough edges, influencing a pre-worn look.”
Online reactions to the Paris sneaker have been mixed.
SoleSavy, a site that bills itself as a community for “true sneakerheads,” asked if the “aged sneaker trend” had gone too far.
Tora Northman, a news editor for the publication high nobie, said the brand has “taken it to the next level,” adding that Balenciaga “always creates controversial items that spark conversations.”
But not everyone thinks the sneakers are worth mocking.
Pam Boy, Head of Editorial Content at GQ France said in a comment on Instagram that the message of the product is clear: “Buy it and keep it forever.” Demna (Creative Director of Balenciaga) will encourage people who can afford luxury items to buy ‘worn’ sneakers for €1450. It completely turns the essence of luxury on its head.”
The jury seems to be split on whether this latest marketing move deserves praise or ridicule. Either way, Demna and Balenciaga have once again got people talking and no doubt attracted many to a brand that seems increasingly comfortable with controversy.
Image above: campaign image of the Paris sneaker by Balenciaga.
The CNN Wire
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