MALAYSIA: On 9 November, Malaysian actress Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh took to Instagram to announce her collaboration with the renowned Spanish luxury brand Balenciaga as its brand ambassador.
However, the announcement stirred a wave of discontent among her fans.
The comment section of Yeoh’s post was flooded with expressions of disappointment from fans who urged her to reconsider her association with the brand.
Yeoh made the partnership announcement through three separate Instagram posts.
In the first post, she expressed her excitement, stating, ” I am thrilled to join @balenciaga as their brand ambassador.”
The second post delved into the artistic aspect of fashion, with Yeoh emphasizing that fashion is not just about clothing but a form of self-expression.
“Fashion is a form of art. It’s not just about a dress but about self-expression, how you feel in the dress, and the values you embody wearing it; it is a way to communicate my work and who I am to the world.”
In the third post, Yeoh conveyed her honor in partnering with Balenciaga, highlighting her appreciation for the artistry and craftsmanship behind each piece.
“Wearing Balenciaga makes me value the artistry and craftsmanship behind every piece.
The brand embodies a sense of originality and relevance while always remaining true to its heritage as a couture atelier. It is an honor to partner with @balenciaga.”
Fans express disappointment
Fans, however, expressed disappointment in large numbers.
Despite a few well-known celebrities extending their congratulations, the majority of Yeoh’s fans were displeased with her decision to align with Balenciaga.
Furthermore, a subset of individuals holds the belief that Michelle was influenced or pressured to assume the ambassador position.
This discontent can be traced back to Balenciaga’s controversial holiday ad campaign in November, which featured children holding teddy bears in bondage harnesses and costumes.
As reported by the The Cut, a New York Magazine site, the BDSM accessories were also on the runway at Balenciaga’s show at Paris Fashion Week.
The controversy surrounding Balenciaga intensified when the brand released a separate ad featuring a bag from its collaboration with Adidas placed atop what appeared to be documents related to a Supreme Court case on child pornography.
This led to accusations of condoning pedophilia and child exploitation, with the hashtag #cancelBalenciaga trending on social media.
Balenciaga apologises for the ads featuring teddy bears
In February, Balenciaga’s creative director, Demna, acknowledged the missteps in both campaigns and issued apologies during an interview with Vogue.
The brand and the Kering Foundation announced a three-year partnership with the National Children’s Alliance (NCA), and internal reorganization measures were put in place to prevent such incidents in the future.
Although Balenciaga apologized for the teddy bear ads, there was no clear statement addressing the campaign featuring the controversial court documents.
As of 28 November, the plush bears were no longer available for sale on Balenciaga’s website.