The images, shot by photographer Leopold Duchemin for the brand, of severely tattered, distressed shoes have gone viral following Monday’s launch of the couture brand’s new Paris sneaker, with outrage at the appearance of the high tops swirling online.
According to the fashion house, only 100 pairs of “extra destroyed” sneakers will be available to buy for $1,850. Meanwhile, the non-limited edition, and less roughed up versions, are being sold on the Balenciaga website for $495 and $625, depending on the specific style.
The “extremely worn” Balenciaga sneakers raising eyebrows online. Credit: Courtesy of Balenciaga
In a press release, the Paris-based brand said that the campaign photos show the shoes “extremely worn, marked up, and dirtied.”
An example of the less roughed up version of the sneaker, available for pre-order for $625 on the Balenciaga website. Credit: Courtesy of Balenciaga
Demna is known for his disruptive flair and the Paris sneaker launch isn’t the first time his designs have been met with bemused reactions.
Balenciaga describes the sneaker as a “retooled classic design,” which is finished with “distressed canvas and rough edges, affecting a pre-worn look.”
Online reactions to the Paris sneaker have been mixed.
But not everyone thinks the sneakers are worth mocking.
The jury appears to be out on whether this latest marketing move is worthy of high praise or ridicule. Either way, Demna and Balenciaga have once again got people talking, no doubt drawing many to a brand that seems increasingly comfortable with controversy.
Top image: Campaign imagery of the Paris sneaker by Balenciaga.