What does a destroyed pair of sneakers that sold for $1,450 say about us?

If I still lived with my parents, in Bologna, and my mother found a pair of Paris High Top Trainers completely destroyed in the front room in the morning, she would probably toss them without even asking me to account for it. And my mother, it must be said, is not the classic fasting lady of fashion: her walk-in closet has room for Dolce & Gabbana suits (the beautiful 80s), Comme des Garçons skirts, Hermès shirts, Alexander McQueen dresses. , shoes by Prada and Chloé. In short, my mother chews too much on good taste and if I found myself in a garbage can looking for a pair of destroyed sneakers worth 1,450 euros, it certainly wouldn’t be because of its lightness. Probably, if in the throes of hysteria I yelled at her something like “You’re crazy, how could you, I paid you $1,450!”

On Monday 9 May, the French fashion house Balenciaga, which can count among its most loyal fans A lister like Kim Kardashian and Justin Bieber and his wife, a new line of “Fully Destroyed” sneakers has launched in a limited edition of one hundred. But destruction, you know, costs a lot of money: while the “regular” Parisian version (read: a kind of Chuck Taylor All Star with the Balenciaga logo on the tip) gets away for the modest amount of 495 euros, the same in the “completely destroyed ” variant it can be bought for 1,450 euros. Demna Gvasalia, the creative director of the brand, is sure that it will be a success, so much so that on the site it is possible to opt for a pre-order so as not to risk losing your broken shoes. Available in black or white, with fine details such as full cotton destroyed and rubber; tears all over the fabric; Balenciaga logo printed on the edge of the shoe at the tip and graffiti in contrasting color on the sole. Icing on the cake (or on the shoe): If the sneakers get dirty (!), I quote literally, just “wipe with a soft cloth”.

Would the advertising campaign with a famous photographer be missing? “A special campaign shows extremely worn, marked and dirty shoes. These still life portraits, by photographer Leopold Duchemin, suggest that the Paris Sneakers are meant to be worn for a lifetime ». the director of GQ France Pierre A. M’Pelé, known online by his stage name Pam Boy, gave his own interpretation in a story on Instagram: “The message is clear: buy and keep forever. Demna will ensure that people who can afford luxury buy ‘pre-worn’ looking sneakers for 1,450 euros. It completely overturns the very essence of luxury… It’s the opposite of a sybaritic mentality, and again they ridicule people who actually spend minimum wage on items they consider disposable and which are seemingly worthless. Is a fashion house the right medium for this message? I don’t know. But I hate to love him ».

I throw the stone, but I hide not my hand: though I have become more conscientious over the years; although it often resorts – for ethical but also economic reasons – to platforms such as Vestiaire Collective or Vinted† though my major expenses are reduced to a bag, a fitted jacket, or a pair of shoes that keep me hooked for months and eventually give up; although it pays more attention to materials and country of manufacture; though I don’t stumble fast fashion for more than five years; though all the different and possible of the case, few things make me as happy as shopping. The truth is that I spend a fortune on clothes, which I don’t reduce to a simple matter embarrassing pleasure simply because I find it really cowardly and childish to be ashamed of your pleasures, whatever they may be.

As soon as I saw the Paris High Top Trainers Fully Destroyed, I immediately thought of my (former) great love, the Gucci Princeton slippers lined with lambswool. It was the year 2015 and I was passionate about them: I went to try them at least five times, three in the boutique of Monte Napoleone and two in the Rinascente, trying to convince myself that those 850 euros was an excellent investment, that I couldn’t live without a pair of mules with fur in them. In the end, common sense won out and I didn’t buy them, and today I can say “thank goodness”: They were a trend, lasting as long as a butterfly fart. Seven years ago everyone wore them and I would have worn them everywhere; in 2022 I’d feel like an idiot, and – maybe – I’d be a little pissed off for naively and hastily fallen into such a big trap.

There’s a faint possibility that Demna Gvasalia supports the same consciousness: the lucky hundred(s) who buy the broken shoes for 1,450 euros (ah, those 50 euros, how my perception of value changes), giving me money for some sneakers that go directly would go into the incinerator confirm with a similar gesture that they are a burden to all humanity. From the top of his throne, Denma will observe the outrage on social media, with the serenity and confidence of those who know that there will always be a poor fool who pays more than a thousand euros to be fooled. A bit like the Jacobim Mugatu who fed the Derelicte collection (itself a parody of the real collection created in 2000 by John Galliano) to an admiring audience, the Georgian designer is so strong in our stupidity that he wants to throw it in the face: Let’s see how many of you, for the same price, between a sartorial piece that is destined to never go out of style or worn, torn, fake-used sneakers, with my logo slammed all over, will prefer the latter. Indeed, they won’t prefer them: they will literally tear their hair to wear them – as long as they can withstand at least a few walks.

As Assia Neumann Dayan rightly pointed out on Twitter: “Buying shoes for a thousand four hundred euros might be a great metaphor.” Well, it is, especially for people who don’t even know what a metaphor is: it tells about fashionistas and influencers eager to publish the coveted photo on Instagram, of their followers who will feel like beggars who will stir up social jealousy, of herds who delude themselves that they know fashion by heart, but ignore the rules of good taste and style. Or maybe there’s a message in the message: On the Balenciaga website, you can read “Paris High Top Destroyed Sneakers for Men in White” and “Paris High Top Destroyed Sneakers for Men in Black”: If anyone was still convinced that Demna Gvasalia was serious, well, know she’s smiling in your face now.

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