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Back in November 2022, Kim Kardashian was caught in the crossfire of criticism aimed at the luxury fashion house Balenciaga. After a holiday collection photoshoot featuring children led to a deep-seated pedophilia conspiracy, the mogul — who has worn Balenciaga to the Met Gala in addition to walking in one of their Paris Fashion Week shows — issued a statement saying that she would be “re-evaluating” her relationship with the brand. After less than two years of re-evaluating, on Monday, Jan. 19, Balenciaga named Kardashian their latest brand ambassador.
“For several years now, Balenciaga’s designs have been a part of my many looks – and some of my most iconic fashion moments,” Kardashian said in a statement. “This historic fashion house embraces modernity, craftsmanship and takes an innovative approach to design under Demna. For me, this long-standing relationship is built on mutual trust and a commitment to doing what’s right. I’m excited about this next chapter for the brand and to become their ambassador.”
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The move isn’t entirely surprising given the absence of a single mention of the scandal in season three of The Kardashians, which premiered last summer. And as recently as December, she attended Balenciaga’s Fall 2024 fashion show in Los Angeles. Nicole Kidman, Michelle Yeoh, Isabelle Huppert, and Krit Amnuaydechkorn are also Balenciaga brand ambassadors.
“I have been quiet for the past few days, not because I haven’t been disgusted and outraged by the recent Balenciaga campaigns, but because I wanted an opportunity to speak to their team to understand for myself how this could have happened,” she said in the immediate wake of the controversial ad, which featured children photographed with what appeared to be BDSM-themed teddy bears.
As the controversy grew, social media users were quick to highlight that one of the public photos of the campaign featured a page of the Supreme Court case United States v. Williams — which prohibited the pandering of child pornography. The ad and its accompanying images were pulled after less than a week.
“We strongly condemn child abuse, it was never our intent to include it in our narrative,” Balenciaga told Rolling Stone in a statement at the time. “Our plush bear bags should not have been featured with children. The two separate ad campaigns in question reflect a series of grievous errors for which Balenciaga takes responsibility.”
Kardashian added: “As a mother of four, I have been shaken by the disturbing images. The safety of children must be held with the highest regard and any attempts to normalize child abuse of any kind should have no place in our society – period … I appreciate Balenciaga’s removal of the campaigns and apology. In speaking with them, I believe they understand the seriousness of the issue and will take the necessary measures for this to never happen again.”
Now, all that’s left to see is whether Kardashian will, at some point in the near future, have to re-evaluate her initial re-evaluation.
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