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A BDSM teddy bear illustrates high fashion’s dire woes

So, Balenciaga is in the news again for all the wrong reasons.

This time with accusations of portraying young children in extremely inappropriate ad campaigns, which feature dark cryptic hints about child  porn and promoting stuffed teddy bears dressed in punk/bondage gear.

Apart from the obvious, which is never, ever involve children with any of this fashion nonsense, I’m just wondering about the brand’s direction in a general sense.

Who on earth is going to buy a stuffed bear dressed in BDSM gear anyway?

Maybe you need to go back to the drawing board, Balenciaga – if you’re still in business at the end of the year, that is – and make some pretty dresses.

The Balenciaga situation is more sinister, but it’s a shame just a few brands take up all the air space by linking up with a Kardashian, or a problematic Kanye, or drawing hype about a dress that was sprayed onto pin-thin supermodel Bella Hadid in real time.

While we are distracted by bondage bears and circuses there are some very beautiful clothes that fly under the radar.

I spent a quiet couple of hours going through all the runway collections last week and was gasping with admiration at some of the designs from reliable houses such as Christopher Kane, Erdem, Andrew Gn and Alberta Ferretti.

While Rihanna is featuring Johnny Depp in one of her inexplicable Fenty shows, the stalwarts like Dries Van Noten and Giorgio Armani are quietly sending out beautiful, wearable and thoughtful clothes.

There are nice clothes out there, but by God you have to search for them!

Glossies not helping

The few fashion magazines still circulating are no help anymore.

Every article is undisguised contra for the luxury advertisers who are still left, or endless stories on the newest Cartier boutique to open, or a Van Cleef & Arpels flower necklace, or some weird Louis Vuitton clothes that aren’t particularly useful for the average shopper.

I’d bite the bullet and follow the dreaded influencers, but so many of them look like hell anyway.

Models show off a Christopher Kane collection in September, a label that is getting it right.

A major fashion retailer was promoting a story recently entitled “How to layer like a fashion insider”, and when I clicked into the piece I was stunned.

The “insider” looked like she had layered whatever she reached for first at the end of the bed: a tiered nylon skirt over pants, worn with muddy work boots, a logo T-shirt under an ugly red sweater, a black oversized coat and thick knitted khaki leg warmers – like an animated jumble sale by way of the disposal store.

Maybe I’m past it, and not down with what the kids are wearing these days, but I did wonder exactly what she was “inside” of.

She was probably a stylist, because in the ironic, jaded, upside-down world of fashion, the most in-demand people often look the least “fashionable”, like the bald hairdresser, the manicurist with bitten nails, or the stylists who wear their own version of a nondescript uniform.

The industry is really not making it easy for us.



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