One coat, two labels: Givenchy & Balenciaga

Can it be? I found my beloved Givenchy coat from 2011 on (more here >>>), but with another label! Now it’s apparently on offer by Balenciaga. A ha.

I bought the 2011 Pre-Fall Collection Givenchy coat in its season at the luxury boutique Maendler in Munich. Now it is available for less than half the original price on, or rather, was available. Needless to say, I acted fast. There was only one available in my size (36, FR 38). Let’s just say, I considered it a sign! I thought, when would this coat ever become available again. Anyway. The point is, this favourite Givenchy coat of mine now has a “Balenciaga Paris” label sewn on it, and I have no idea what to make of it.

Balenciaga Givenchy Mantel Modepilot Gate 2011 Pre Collection

Identical coat, two different labels: Givenchy and Balenciaga

Take a look at this! As I opened the package, I was in for a rather peculiar surprise: The Balenciaga Label was sewn on the item crooked (see sewn label below). Comparing the two coats, I didn’t find any other apparent difference other than the label*. I thought that the manufacturer must be the same. When I tried it on, I didn’t like the sleeves of the new coat so much: although they have the same cut with the old one, these are badly creased. I’m not sure whether this is the result of a production flaw or bad storing practices. More pictures at the bottom of this article.

Balenciaga Label Modepilot schief Kopie

You must be kidding me! The crooked and sideways sewn Balenciaga label

This is how the coat was until recently on offer (until July 26, 2017):

Screenshot coat Mantel Givenchy Balenciaga Yoox

What a surprise: The coat, as I found it on

Material check. The fabric composition is 100% identical, and so is the sewn on wash care label: 77% wool, 19% polyamide, 4% elasthane. And when it comes to its leather, it is lambskin leather.

I sent a couple of emails regarding the matter to the press ladies at Yoox and Kering (owner group of the Balenciaga fashion house) and have been waiting for an answer ever since (July 26th). What kind of possible answer can the fashion brand provide me with? In the meantime I called my Italian fashion expert friend and told her about my little discovery. Her response? “Have you read the book ‘Gomorrah’ by Roberto Saviano about the italian Mafia?”

It describes all kinds of details about the almost inflationary allocation of phoney branded fashion items, she says. As the fashion brands provide their patterns, fabrics and labels to different producers in Italy and then do not recover them, the result is a surplus of branded items that can hardly be controlled.

Peter von Becker writes about the book in the Tagesspiegel: “Saviano names names, such as Armani and Versace… By the way, none of the global fashion companies have denied the details of “Gomorrah” so far.” He continues: “The cheapest offer is awarded the contract, and sometimes several tailors are competing for the same design. If you do not end up on the runway, the second market – that of the outlets – will be served with the silent consent of the fashion houses with genuine copies and ‘authorized’ counterfeits. Until today this has remained unknown.”

A Munich-based importer of espresso coffee beans adds to the story: He has a friend in Prato, the collecting point for designerware. The friend explained to him the system he knew all too well, because he himself has been working in it. Such designerware, my coffee man tells me, is now produced mainly in Asia. Only the labels are still sewn in Prato – and apparently this is enough to claim that the items are “Made in Italy”. He also explains how the production surplus ends up in the outlets – there, he will store the merchandise for one, two, or three years: “Actually it would have to be destroyed, but Italians don’t find the heart to do so.”

Pre-Fall Collection 2011 by Givenchy

The lookbook of the Pre-Fall Collection 2011 by Givenchy unfortunately does not display the coat, but the other looks included nonetheless show the mood of style, colour and materials. I also found another product photo of the Givenchy coat on Pinterest – which was apparently taken from the Barney’s New York e-store with links to it. Of course, the coat on this platform is sold out. All photos in the gallery:

Was mache ich nun mit dem Zweitmantel?

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* Regarding the colour difference: The different colour shades of the coats at the top image are only due to different light exposure. The coat photo on the left is from the Maendler online shop and displays the Givenchy item (middle), which I have been wearing for years. The photo on the right shows the coat with the Balenciaga label from The photo below shows that both coats have exactly the same color. In my pictures below you can see the coat with the Balenciaga label and its badly creased sleeves, probably due to bad storing conditions:

Whether Givenchy or Balenciaga, the sleeves of a new coat should not look like this …
Whether Givenchy or Balenciaga, the sleeves of a new coat should not look like this …

So sollten die Ärmel eines Mantels weder von Givenchy noch von Balenciaga aussehen…

… und so auch nicht (mein Arm darunter ist nackig).

My conclusion: Perhaps after all these years of storing somewhere in a warehouse the original label fell off. Someone found a label on the floor only by Balenciaga and so they thought of sewing it back on … What I don’t get is how can this item with no Balenciaga history whatsoever and an obviously completely amateurish badly sewn Balenciaga label land on I need to add here that the Yoox Group has several designer onlineshops, including that of Balenciaga. Under “product quality” boasts that “ enjoys a well-established, direct relationship with designers, manufacturers and official dealers. We are thus able to offer you a selection of authentic products of the highest quality.” And this is where I don’t understand what happened there. I’m glad, however, that the coat surplus with all its beautiful lambskin leather details was not destroyed. Burning a bunch of Givenchy coats just because might have shocked me even more.

translation by Maria Delta

Photo By: photo collage from Maendler, Inka Marnette and, Givenchy, Modepilot

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