The Balenciaga Weirdness

As you may know, prestigious fashion brand Balenciaga are in litigation and a reputation crisis after releasing their children’s label which featured disturbing images of the child models and – creepily – a copy of the 2002 Ashcroft vs Free Speech Coalition legal ruling which upheld that “virtual” depictions of children fell under free speech.

Not only that, their Spring 2023 campaign starring Isabelle Huppert features another suss book in the background.

It seems to be alien-level insanity that a fashion house would sign off on this. Fashion is over-populated with Virgos and super-nuanced Scorpios: the bigger the budget, the more intensive the scrutiny.

Big fashion people fight over fonts, watch focus groups through two-way mirrors and no matter how avant-garde the designer, plan far into the future. To attribute crap of this magnitude to a rando set designer is ridiculous.

Mind you, I thought they’d lost it when they did their trench warfare fashion show in October.

Note: I decided to soothe everyone’s eyes by re-editing the post images on here to be classic Balenciaga – but I left the high-heeled Crocs in for reference.

That show, along with high-heeled Crocs, $5000 high-vis ‘tradies jackets’, and spectacles like scary and dystopian but undeniably brilliant fashion shows came via Demna Gvasalia, Balenciaga’s creative director since 2015.

The triple Aries (Sun, Venus, Mars) Vetements founder was hired because the parent company saw him as someone capable of “reshuffling the cards.”

The designer’s Aries trio is balanced by a substantial Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in Libra, and up until now, Gvasalia has hovered elegantly on edge of controversy. He’s responsible for record revenue growth and, as a survivor of the Georgian civil war, if he wants to make his collections into statements about hacking, clones, war, high-frequency trading, why not?

But the creepy kids fashion shoot says nothing or if it is saying anything, it’s repellent. Cristobal Balenciaga, the fashion house founder would probably have freaked way before. The platform Crocs alone would have done it.

A Leo Rising triple Aquarian, Cristobal Balenciaga opened his first store on July 7 1919. Venus, Saturn and Neptune were aligned in Leo – now Uranus is squaring those points. Additionally, Uranus is opposite the designer’s natal Uranus.

When you have a reputation or a name that lives on beyond you, the astro keeps right on applying to your natal chart and this absolutely counts as a Uranian event – out of the blue, jangling and provocative.

The prototypal designer, Balenciaga dressed high profile women like Ava Gardner, Grace Kelly and Jacqueline Kennedy but he literally shunned publicity. He annoyed fashion media by insisting his clothes were only to be shown on his middle-aged house models, who were nicknamed ‘the monsters’ for their temperament.

Nonetheless, the shows were sensations. “One fainted. It was possible to blow up and die,” wrote Diana Vreeland.

Hubert de Givenchy, who apprenticed for Balenciaga, said the designer told him not to “try and make sheep with five legs! That is what another designer would do, just to surprise the press or the customer; not you. It is more important to be conscientious and always aware.”

Cristobal’s world is gone. It exists in a parallel phantom dimension, where women with names like Mona Von Bismarck still wear silk cocktail pyjamas for dinner on their pleasure boat called Warrior and buy summer houses that once belonged to the Emperor Tiberius.

Can the fashion house he created survive this and would he even want it to? If he didn’t like 20th Century newspapers, imagine how he’d feel about a speculative social media frenzy pairing Balenciaga with child abuse, Epstein island, satanic cults etc?

Given that Gvasalia reveres Balenciaga and has not made a commercial mis-step yet, what happened? Could Saturn square his Uranus in Scorpio have messed with his radar? He hasn’t made a comment on this yet, which is also odd.

It’s not the buzz – or sorry, ‘reshuffled cards’ – you want for your brand. But here is the part that makes this sorry string of events and possible skeevery very much an end-of-Pluto-in-Capricorn-era event:

Under Gvasalia, Balenciaga has gone all-in on Kim Kardashian. The deal is confidential but she’s worn literally only their clothes for several months now. She is their marketing strategy. She was also one of the prime drivers in the campaign to release the former trafficked-child Cyntoia Brown from prison, where she’d been sentenced to 51 years for killing her alleged rapist at the age of 16.

Even if you dislike her, Kardashian was sincere in her advocacy and would be genuinely appalled to be linked with these matters. She is also the world’s most influential influencer and this topic + potential breach of contract is emerging just as a USA judge has ordered the previously sealed Ghislaine Maxwell documents to be opened.

If this gets momentum, it will accelerate. She has Jupiter conjunct her Midheaven, the ultimate “public eye” aspect and Pluto is squaring her Sun and Lilith in Libra, while Neptune opposes the Midheaven.

Translation: She has a distinct choice of nebulizing away all the reputional risk and just staying famous, rich etc OR seizing control and using her enormous visibility to work some plutonic juju.

It’s an end-of-era event because it has huge implications for the influencer economy, masstige brands and gigantic corporations.


Images: China Machado – the gorgeous and groundbreaking Capricorn – in Balenciaga, 1959.
The iconic Scorpio Grace Kelly, wearing her evidently favorite Balenciaga suit in Monaco 1962

48 thoughts on “The Balenciaga Weirdness”

  1. I haven’t paid much attention to fashion for a while but the Balenciaga fiasco had caught my attention. Just ugly but yes, perhaps it’s the big finale to some end of era themes.
    I watched the mud walk – some kind of tough mudder tradie meets heroin chic (why is that making a come back btw?) If the undertones weren’t polarising and dark it would be comical.

  2. Clarissa Dolphin

    If I’m honest… I’m still recovering from the depravity of this situation and find it hard to comment, although the astrology you’ve shared is SO ELUCIDATING and makes complete sense. Of course it’s what-the-f**k-Uranus.

    1. “When you have a reputation or a name that lives on beyond you, the astro keeps right on applying to your natal chart and this absolutely counts as a Uranian event – out of the blue, jangling and provocative.” The relevance of this statement should never be underestimated but I often don’t consider it.

  3. Personally, I think she’s gonna take the opportunity to do some Plutonic juju. Shes a lot deeper than people give her credit for and once she takes a side she’s all in. Its very clear what the public opinion is anyway, so to lean into it and align with it and make that bold move could only be in her favor, especially as she continues to build on the social justice work she’s already doing, which I think she’s going to pursue to a greater and greater extent as she ages. As you can probably tell, I have a soft spot for her even though I find her problematic at times as well, cuz I think she has a good heart at the end of the day.

  4. Not a fashionista but definite art lover. The blood red, baby-holding image I guess is a poke at all those QAnon fuqwits who think “rich people [the 1%] drink the blood of children” … whatever. This entire thing just reeks of someone who is slipping over the edge due to too much substance abuse, IMHO. Greed eventually takes down the greedy. Actions have consequences, regardless of the astro.

  5. I’m a libra who had to reconcile with exploitation by my own family before I could properly deal with all the other messes and traumas that resulted from the repetition compulsion. It really culminated when pluto was squaring all my libra and aries at the middle degrees a few years ago. Kim has something similar happening now. I’d like to see her wake up and transform.

  6. Curiouser and Curiouser… artistic flair, publicity stunt, (not so) covert messages, temporary insanity… will we ever know?

    Thanks Mystic for the astro take on this rabbit hole. I really appreciate the pieces on Balenciaga and his vibe and how his namesake intertwines with the astro.

  7. Not sure if i even understand what the hell the fashion designers do??? Make clothes 90% of us can’t afford or wear, appear in photos with models that just look creepy and give out a scary sex vibes? Now they are turning their focus on children!! And what’s with the weird over big buts sticking out at angles that are not possible on real bodies?? I wish the end of Saturn/Pluto thing would just disband this hole industry. Biggest waste of resources and exploration our planet has ever know! Maybe we should make these designers into priers the fusel fuel industry are now?

  8. A bit off-topic. Experiencing our end-of-Pluto-in Capricorn era often makes me wonder whether Pluto transiting the tail-ends of the other signs had consequences as radical as what we see now…

  9. Yes the teddy bear is a symbol that is iconic and much loved. A sacred cow so to speak. So they target it.

    I wonder what the Tao of Pooh would say?

  10. Is this brand using this as a stunt for publicity? I hate to sound cynical.
    I hadn’t heard of this label till I read this blog.

    A while ago I experienced a 20 something male show me pictures of creepy filters that he put on his months old baby. I was unsettled. He thought it was funny. There was a disconnect there. I am not saying all 20 somethings are like this. But this is a generation brought up on social media. This young man got a thrill out of shocking me. Disturbing but true.

    It sounds like a weird angle to pitch to the demographic that buys fashion. Call me an old fuddy duddy but I think some young people like shocking older generations. History repeats itself and marketers know that.

  11. Have you read the NY Times article for this? Reading the sub-headline alone, “When High Fashion and QAnon Collide” REALLY??!!! I heard they were also super soft on the FTX Founder’s fall too. The NY Times has lost all credibility.

    1. Yes they must be making MAD P.R. money – apparently FTX heist is the tale of an altruist stifled by bureaucracy and the Balenciaga travesty is conspiracy theorists reading too much into artistic imagery. If I was good at Photoshop, I’d retro-make-over some classic headlines.

  12. Random early morn thoughts:
    ‘Everything iv’e learnt in life has been learned from my Teddy Bear’.
    Quote from Teddy Bear cards.
    Is nothing sacred anymore?

    Those all in one tights & shoes look horrid. Heeled Crocs? Purely attention seeking behaviour or sending people who worship designer duds up.
    Demna is a hairy beast taking the piss or lighting candles to the underworld?

    Celebrities are taking work from professional models in perfume, handbags etc. Endorsements mean ziltch in fact is off-putting.

    Quadrille was a beautiful Balenciaga perfume in the 60’s if my memory serves me well being my first expensive one.
    ‘Influencers’? Who are they influencing, it’s surely not us discerning ones.

    Won’t Pluto in Aquarius tidy this free-for- all up & bring to the fore what REALLY counts in the way of communications in cyber space?

  13. the Croc reminds me of the stiletto thong or kitten heels which reminds me of Julie Rrap’s stiletto foot Overstepping which reminds me of the female artist (?) that did it earlier in the 1960’s. Cyclic

    1. Touche Lux. It is uncomfortable, unsettling, unkind and unimaginative weirdness. The opposite of Venusian and it has no worthy aesthetic.I really don’t like this stuff. It’s as if it creeps around behind everything not caring if it gets noticed which is why it gets noticed. It’s positively hideous. I love children and animals and anything like this just raises the hackles. The croc is just effing stupid.

  14. I was sincerely shocked when I saw the publicity photos for the Balenciaga teddy bear bags this week. Such a black, deeply perverted look about them. I also saw a clip from the October ‘mud pit’ fashion show for the first time this week. I was surprised to feel that the vibe reminded me so very strongly of the energy of 2019 – which I thought we had truly moved past by now. In 2019 Saturn was slowly moving towards its conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn. And back then the whole atmosphere to me felt very, very, very BLEAK with everything and everyone being ground down by ultimate greed 🛠️

    1. Also, by the way, transiting Saturn will square Gvasiala’s Moon Uranus conjunction in Scorpio in the coming few months. And transiting Neptune in Pisces is squaring his natal Neptune on an off for the coming year…

    2. They are so viscerally repulsive but just as offensive to me is how obvious the idea is. Cheap schlock value.

      The “concept” is crass and dumb. There’s nothing innovative or thought provoking here.

      It’s straight off the doodle pad of the 10th grade class creep. I can see the bondage teddy between scribbles of assault rifles and naked women, failing algebra.

      It’s just pathetic that a luxury house would produce this and even more pathetic, there’s a potential market for it.

      These bags are as stupid as flying a Let’s Go Brandon flag in front of your house.

      1. Agreed Joolz, I hadn’t thought of the obviousness aspect yet. But you are right, ‘straight off the doodle pad of the 10th grade class creep’. Makes it even more repulsive

  15. I would like to see the snake eat its own tail, the influencer influences the brand, the circle is complete.

    I definitely don’t mind an out there fashion concept by any means but yes I just can’t even with some of Gvasalia’s efforts just now. The sound of the house name, Balenciaga doesn’t even align with… Crocs with heels 🙁 . It’s cognitive dissonance

    Maybe it all makes sense along with the KK eggs in one basket thing if one is under 22? I don’t mind but maybe that’s it?

  16. Thank you, Mystic!
    I listened to a podcast yesterday where women I seriously admire, called this whole Balenciaga fracas of incredible out in the open… evil… a conspiracy. I was literally like, what kookaid did they drink?
    I am an avid devourer of fashion Astro by you, Mystic and was so hoping you’d shed some Mystic light on the optics, Balenciaga and Kim. I sincerely believe she would abhor this public mess though she probably will uphold bringing down child abusers and the groups that seek to normalise child abuse further. Especially as her daughter has been recently mirroring her mother and her Balenciaga outfits. Interestingly, and without sounding like a conspiratorial person… one of the images that cause it to be condemned as a conspiracy is the duct tape printing that spells BAAL in one of the disturbing images….

  17. The fashion industry is getting shook.
    In these recent weeks: Tom Ford sold off his namesake brand, Alessandro Michele left Gucci (fired by Pinault over barely missed growth targets?), Raf Simons closed his brand, Matthew Williams out at Givenchy. As a Fashion Virgo, I won’t sit there and cry for Demna, I hated what he was doing at Balenciaga/Vêtements. And the fact that everyone was copying his tragic outfits. Controversy was his bread and butter, now he’s getting burnt by public reception outside his usual ‘edgy’ crowd. Next up, the corporate suits will be coming for him too, expect an unceremonious dismissal.
    Pinault/Kering are known to be rather ruthless. However, this is such an odd event, I instantly thought “…what kind of weird astro…?”
    Thanks Mystic for clarifying it because I sincerely believe we’re living through times tougher for the fashion industry than the actual pandemic.

    1. Yes a lot of flux all round! I love the gucci vibe! And Alessandro always seemed so erudite and interesting in interviews.

      And yes I didn’t realize Cristobal Balenciaga was quite so hermetic and fastidious + anti controversy for the sake of it.

      I actually like the ’emergency coven meeting’ looks that the kardiashians were pulling today; eg:

      1. The Koven look would have been a really cool idea had it been spontaneous. But I remember how Kim dressed pre-Ye and knowing the cynicism and big bucks stacked behind this sartorial decision…
        Julia Fox spoke about Kanye demanding that she lose weight so she could fit into this type of stuff. So, this aesthetic makes me feel ill in multiple ways.

        Sidenote, I love vintage haute couture gossip and history: Coco Chanel vs everyone (the Wertheimers/Elsa Schiaparelli/Yves Saint Laurent), Mitzah Bricard being the creative force behind Dior, Paul Poiret’s last days in obscurity after his Années Folles glory…

    2. yes iris, it was over reaching 9% instead of 10%. I was there (meaning working for gucci) when the exact same thing happened to frida giannini in december 2014 and alessandro michele was chosen to replace her as an ad. tbh at the time I gave him 5 years, and he lasted 7. he knew veeeery well that the same would happen to him eventually, and believe me when I say that he was well prepared. my take is that he saw it as a great 50th birthday present = total freedom! he’s a neptunian kind of sagittarius and the mad carousel of fashion had been proving to be too much for his energy for some time now. I saw him with my own eyes have a meltdown, and then apologising profusely to all. this is why I’m really glad for him, because now he will have the time to do what he pleases, when he pleases, and wish him the best for the future. re demna, even though I have a stellium in scorpio his vibe repels me too. however he and alessandro have known each other for a long time and apparently got on well during the gucci-balenciaga collab (incidentally, both owned by kering).

      1. The mad carousel of fashion has exhausted so many talented people!
        Really, Azzedine Alaia (R.I.P.) had the right idea to say ‘fuq it.’ and present whenever. Nicolas Ghesquière, Frida Giannini, now Alessandro Michele too… The way Pinault/Kering cuts ties is not classy nor graceful. Hopefully, true freedom and better days ahead for Michele!
        Scorp rising and 1st house Plutonian myself and I definitely share your dislike for Demna’s design vibe. The clothes are not sexy, flattering or mysterious (Scorp catnip), they’re just black (+ bonus tracksuits).

      2. oh yes, iris, it’s gruelling, and not only for people in their 40s or older. luckily people involved are now speaking about it and having the courage to let go. re kering, unfortunately it’s just a matter of numbers. grace and/or class have nothing to do with it. thing is, the timing at the end of the solar year is very tight for upcoming shows (and therefore production). at least after covid they will be able to show whenever they are ready to.

      3. Yes, tongues have definitely loosened in recent years! Which must be super cathartic because Goddess knows how poisonous pain and resentment are in creative fields. Speaking of timing & crunch Isa, since you’ve seen the machine far more upclose than I have, do the ever increasing fashion seasons really have that much impact on revenue? Take a house like Chanel where people order older/archival designs quite often — do they need Virginie Viard to pump out AI-designed looking collections every few months?
        I consider myself pretty wired to what’s being shown and I have trouble keeping up! Even worse, I find myself and others less interested because obviously Haute Couture on Shein deadlines can be disappointing.
        This has to disheartening to everyone involved, this much energy poured into collections that are almost treated as disposable…

      4. apologies to anyone not interested – veeery long post… what I’m sharing has been publicly documented, so please don’t think it’s gossip or any sort of spilling the beans (I’m not the type). well, as far as ready-to-wear is concerned, unfortunately they have become disposable, regardless of how expensive they are to make. many collections are manufactured in italy because of the extremely high level of both materials and craftmanship available there, and about 10 years ago the president of the italian chamber of fashion in an interview revealed how much it pained him to acknowledge the throwaway culture of a certain type of customer who had zero interest/respect for the labour behind these items, and behaved like that just because they could :(((. unfortunately this type of very, very wealthy client is the one who keeps the industry alive, precisely because they are onnivorous, so this new reality had to be accepted. until about 15-20 years ago there used to be two seasons, winter (delivered to shops in july/august) and summer (delivered in january/february). a small number of designers also produced a very small extra collection called cruise (later on followed by another called pre-fall, delivered in november and may respectively), targeted to the needs of their clients who went on cruises in the winter and wanted new summer (or mid-season) clothes but couldn’t find them in the shops because it was too early. in a few years, these cruise collections were adopted by other designers too, and became larger and larger, and just as stylish and glamorous as the main ones, and got their own fashion show, and started to become the ones who sold much more than the actual seasonal runway collections, so they did drive the market (also because they managed to be less expensive and therefore more affordable for a middle-class customer). fashion shows (horribly expensive), and runway collections for the main two seasons need to go on though, because this field is extremely competitive and if a designer stops showing for any reason then all the other ones will gloat at their assumed financial problems, so fashion shows in general are an investment that doesn’t really bring about a lot of revenue, but is not easily given up because of prestige. then nowadays designers will launch a capsule collection for any reason to bring in fresh revenue – see for example the ones that come out at the end of january in time for the chinese new year celebrations representing the animal of the year, which of course will only be worn for that occasion and then binned (I don’t think they will be kept for another 12 years…).so yes, I agree, in a certain way it is a waste of talent and energy, but it’s the artistic director, whose duty is to choose a theme/trend and then have the final word on everything produced accordingly, who is more overwhelmed than the individual design teams – in the end, he/she will be blamed and fired if things don’t sell. besides, apart from a few exceptions there’s a general consensus on the quality of all this output having decreased significantly. this is to say that probably a certain type of fashion collector won’t be interested in items produced in the last 10-15 years. there’s a lot of burnout, and with covid there emerged a strive to humanise this system, but at the end of the day it’s a business like any other, so it depends on sales (especially to keep alive all the small manufacturers who actually produce the goods) and it seems unlikely that it will slow down. haute couture works very differently though.

      5. See, this whole time I thought cruise/pre-fall collections were the more superfluous ones, lol. 
        Personally, I understood that fashion weeks had lost their shine (financially) when I started seeing certain sponsors disappear. And, honestly, I get the president of the Italian chamber of fashion’s exasperation, but looking at my own country, France, I must say that I’m a bit jealous of the vigor & vitality of their fashion craftsmanship sector. There’s a looooot of artisanship here that has straight-up died or moved somewhere else much cheaper. Taking my birth town, Lyon, where the centuries-old luxury silk sector has been progressively extinguished by globalisation and China’s market dominance. And now, we’re talking about it all in past tense, sigh. 
        This is why I have a love/hate relationship with Chanel: yes, they are on autopilot and bizarrely trying to charge Hermès prices for their bags (???) but they are propping up many ateliers who would NOT survive on their own. If Chanel falls, it’s savoir-faire down the drain. And trust me, we need the damn thing (let me not even start to rant on the “restaurant” industry currently…).
        Also, wow, being artistic director is such a sword of Damocles position, I guess I hadn’t properly realized. 
        Thank you for having explained it so well, I’m extra inquisitive because these issues have been swirling in my head for a while!
        Now I ponder on the future… if everyone in the high fashion food chain is weary of this, what would it take to create that human system people were dreaming about only months ago. Utopia, perhaps? Pluto in Aqua event? Signals are definitely coming from the white noise.

      6. my pleasure, iris, thank you for listening :). yes, unfortunately if the big ones go down sooo many people will lose their job, not to mention the tragic loss of savoir faire as you rightly pointed out. my take is that the big divide between the 1% and the 99% is not going anywhere soon, so the luxury industry will continue to exist (there will always be a niche for it). maybe pluto in aquarius will open people’s eyes and break the spell of the glamourisation of luxury and of image-based culture, and even more so neptune in aries and uranus in gemini. many fashion people are neptunian: this industry relies on dreams and ideals – perfection, eternal youth, beauty – and is consequently inherently out of touch with reality, and neptune is at home in pisces, and before that it was in aquarius (a congenial sign).let’s hope for stronger signals from the white noise then 🙂 <3

  18. I was literally just thinking about the Kardashian implications with this whole mess of events. She and her sisters wear alot of Balenciaga and they’re all fiercely protective of their children, so I can imagine their horror at the campaign. It will be interesting to see how she handles it.

    1. Yes but that’s it – they’re wearing it, especially KK as part of a major deal. So she would be under enormous pressure, not to mention contract, to carry on regardless and endorse the fuq out of it.

  19. I was SO hoping you would write about this Balenciaga controversy & the Kim K angle!
    I knew her MC must’ve been under serious planetary pressure with her messier-than-messy timeline lately and now the beyond dark link to child pornography all in the name of fashion. That’s a lot lol…even for someone who built a whole career on staged dramatics 😳😳
    All of that makes a VERY great case for the demise of the Pluto in Cap era and the breakdown of the toxic online culture that has thrived almost without consequence.
    I’m ready for the final stages of Pluto in Cap before we welcome the Aquarian era and the rebirth of an awakened consciousness. I feel like all these extremely bizarre situations that are playing out in a very public arena, is the God the Underworld coming back to decimate what needs to be transformed…(Oooo I got deep lol)

    1. I hope Pluto in Aquarius will be better. I try to imagine it in a positive way, but right now I am concerned that it could also manifest as a high-tech, communist totalitarian world state with people wearing some contemporary version of the Mao jacket as a uniform and eating nothing but soy products… But maybe that’s the Moon Saturn conjunction in Aquarius – which is just behind us today -casting its chilly shade

      1. LOL your outlook on the future of humanity is bleak today Calcifer! You sound like you need to unplug from the system 🔌 
        Pluto in Aqua isn’t going to be pretty or easy, because Uranian lead change never is with its innovation created by disruptions. But that’s where change happens for complex systems at the edge of chaos (a piece by Michael Crichton that Mystic posted is so relatable today) and we are headed for upheaval on a global scale. Also some ugly cultural level turbulence, seatbelt sign is ON 💺 lol 😂 

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