Balenciaga’s Le City revival sparks nostalgia with Yang Chaoyue, Kate Moss

    Balenciaga reintroduces its iconic Le City line with a star-studded campaign.
    Chinese actress and singer Yang Chaoyue in Balenciaga's latest campaign. Photo: Mario Sorrenti
      Published   in News

    What happened

    On April 5, Balenciaga reintroduced its cult Le City line, first launched in 2001. Dubbed the Motorcycle City Bag, the item's enigmatic yet practical allure embodies a certain fashion era.

    To mark its return, Balenciaga unveiled a campaign shot by renowned fashion photographer Mario Sorrenti, featuring talents like British fashion icon Kate Moss, Danish model Mona Toogard, Chinese actress and singer Yang Chaoyue, and South Korean singer Juyeon. The campaign reimagines the Noughties era in a contemporary context.

    Kate Moss sporting a Motorcycle City Bag. Photo: Mario Sorrenti
    Kate Moss sporting a Motorcycle City Bag. Photo: Mario Sorrenti

    The Jing Take

    The anticipation for Balenciaga's Le City bags surged on Chinese social platforms prior to their official launch. On Xiaohongshu, the hashtag "Balenciaga motorcycle bags" garnered over 27.7 million views and 20,000 posts, with users sharing their Classic City bag experiences. Many recalled cherished memories of using the bag and excitement on the reintroduction.

    The campaign, launched yesterday, sparked significant discussion among Chinese netizens. Yang's portrait alone received over 16,900 views on Weibo within 12 hours, driving traffic for the launch. Her endorsement, along with Kate Moss’ presence, appeased the nation’s Gen Z and millennial consumers. The hashtag "Balenciaga LeCity" on Weibo reached over 4.5 million views by April 12.

    Like many other luxury fashion brands, Balenciaga is clearly doubling down on the handbag category in times of economic uncertainty. Responding to the resurgence of classics, Balenciaga launched a refreshed version of the City, the Le Cagole, in 2021, featuring hardware that nods to the Noughties original, but with a more streamlined silhouette. However, Le City is “created to echo the circa-2001 reference almost exactly, improved upon in terms of sustainable production,” according to the brand’s statement.

    Photo: Balenciaga
    Photo: Balenciaga

    By revisiting its archives, Balenciaga is trying to tap into nostalgia and timeless style, appealing to a broader spectrum of fashion enthusiasts of all ages. This relaunch, and strategic communication and distribution is a clear attempt to strike a balance between a more classic appeal and their signature edgy modernity.

    The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.

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