First thing's first, no, the image you see at the top of this page is not what Balenciaga's new Paris sneaker actually looks like. Rather, it's an exaggerated version of the distressed shoe that forms part of the sneaker's new campaign.
According to a release, the still-life portraits of the extremely dirty shoes are simply meant to suggest that the new Paris sneakers "are meant to be worn for a lifetime." There are, however, 100 "extra destroyed" sneakers available for sale in black or white (those you can see, below), and they're not nearly as tattered and extreme as the fake campaign styles.
Hope that clears up some of the outrage against the campaign images that are going viral. Though, to be fair, $1,850 is still a staggering number for the mildly distressed styles, even if they are Balenciaga. That said, the brand's new Paris range also has some styles under $700 (see below), and they're much less distressed and worn-out-looking.
Still, that hasn't stopped users lashing out online. Which is why this comment from GQ France editor Pam Boy puts it best: "The message is clear: buy and keep forever," he wrote on Instagran. "Demna will make people who can afford luxury items purchase 'pre-worn' looking sneakers for 1450€. He is completely turning the essence of luxury upside down ... It’s the opposite of a sybaritic mindset, and once again he is making fun of people who will indeed spend a minimum wage on items that 1. they might deem disposable and 2. which are seemingly worthless. Is a luxury house the right medium for this message? I don’t know. But I hate to love it."
Photography: Leopold Duchemin
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