Highsnobiety

Even as the Balenciaga controversy finally flames out, its celebrity devotees aren't likely to return to wearing all-Balenciaga-everything any time soon. But Justin Bieber might've devised a clever workaround wearing his favorite brand.

On December 3, Bieber was seen exiting a West Hollywood club wearing a pretty typical streetwear look: xKarla beanie, Drew House sweater, jeans, Vans sneakers, and a statement Gucci puffer.

At first blush, it looked as though Bieber was swapping one Kering-owned fashion house for another. Not a massive stretch, given that he's been wearing barely anything besides Balenciaga for the past year or so and it's easy enough to make the switch to Gucci. If anything, Gucci is arguably even more wearable.

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But Bieber's not wearing an ordinary Gucci puffer: it's a Balenciaga x Gucci puffer, part of Balenciaga and Gucci's 2021 "Hacking" project (don't call it a collab).

The Balenciaga branding on Bieber's puffer is subtle, only visible when you zoom in on the monogram branding, which is exactly the point: Bieber gets to keep wearing his luxury fave while skirting the blowback kicked up by the recent Balenciaga affair.

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Only those who were living under a rock could've escaped the deluge of news surrounding the Balenciaga "scandal," sometimes referred to as #BalenciagaGate.

In a nutshell, the Demna-helmed luxury label issued a series of apologies following explosive outrage over a few recent campaigns. The furor, fed mostly by right-wing American media outlets, even prompted some celebrities to respond with tepid statements that garnered little support.

Suffice to say, it's hard to imagine any famous folks repping Balenciaga in the near future.

It might be hard to go cold turkey, though.

Bieber — himself the subject of both Balenciaga campaigns and conspiracy theories — apparently can't commit to distancing himself from Balenciaga entirely, though the Gucci puffer provides safe enough cover.

Indeed, celebrities accustomed to wearing one brand as a uniform apparently find it tough to kick the habit.

Kim Kardashian, for instance, is on her own Balenciaga break but continues wearing her YEEZY slide sandals even as her ex-husband sinks further into extremist rhetoric.

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