Good morning, everyone! Are you ready for some scalding hot ~fashion~ tea, straight from my homeland of Australia?
I thought you might be. Today's scandal: An Instagram-famous fashion rental company has been accused of giving clients FAKE designer outfits to wear and promote via social media.
Brace yourselves, children — this is the most fascinating and messy conspiracy theory you've seen in a while.
BUT! According to some eagle-eyed geniuses, it APPEARS that Borrow My Balmain may have been renting out designer knockoffs this whole time.
The discrepancy was noticed by @diet_prada, a truly amazing Instagram account dedicated to calling out apparent copycats in the fashion world.
They noticed something suspicious going on with the items allegedly on loan from Borrow My Balmain — and they brought out the receipts.
In a post that's been liked nearly 6,000 times, @diet_prada called out the rental service for allegedly buying cheap knockoff pieces, then passing them off as the real thing.
"Aspiring insta-thots, BEWARE! Australian account @borrowmybalmain has been purchasing fake @Dior from @ebay and renting it out as the real thing for profit," @diet_prada wrote in the caption of their slideshow.
The image above shows a runway image of a genuine Dior skirt — next to it, a screengrab from Borrow My Balmain's Instagram account of the "same" skirt available to clients.
Does it look a little different than it did on the runway? @diet_prada thought so.
@diet_prada found an eBay listing for an inexpensive skirt that appears to be IDENTICAL to the one that Borrow My Balmain was loaning out to influencers.
On the left: an image from eBay of a listing for a "Pop art graffiti sequin embroidered tulle maxi long skirt see-through sheer" skirt. Price: $150. Definitely not real Dior.
On the right: Australian influencer Steph Claire Smith wearing what appears to be the exact same skirt. Smith's Instagram post showing her in this outfit is still up, but does not currently have any @borrowmybalmain tags on the picture.
But! Steph's stylist for this event, Suzy Eskander, DOES still credit this look as "Dior by @borrowmybalmain" in HER post about the lewk. Seems like one of Australia's premiere stylists would be able to identify a "replica" piece, don't you think?
Not quite seeing the difference yet? Understandable. @diet_prada then provided an up-close look at the sun embroidery on the real Dior skirt for comparison — and raised some serious ethical questions.
@diet_prada intimated that celebrity influencers were either duped by the rental service into believing the pieces were real, or (allegedly!) knew they were fake, but participated anyway. "Have local Aussie influencers @chloemaggs and @stephclairesmith been duped or have they willingly participated in their endor$ement? We're thinking the latter."
BUT WAIT — IT GETS WEIRDER.
Harper's Bazaar Australia discovered that Chloe Maggs, one of the influencers frequently featured on the Borrow My Balmain Instagram, appears to be the FOUNDER of the company. This does not appear to have been disclosed anywhere on Maggs' Instagram — which she's made private — or on the @borrowmybalmain account.
Here's the real Dior sun on the left — the alleged @borrowmybalmain piece on the right.
"Just look at that janky ass embroidered sun with googly eyes!...not so exemplary of the skilled petit mains of the world's most storied couture house," wrote @diet_prada.
@diet_prada found additional examples that appear to show items from Borrow My Balmain looking... a little different than they did on the runway.
The comparisons posed by @diet_prada are PRETTY startling.
Left: the real deal. Right: another look at what @diet_prada claims is a knockoff.
"BTW @vogueaustralia, you should probably take your post of Chloe in the knockoff down!"
I have reached out to reps for Dior, Borrow My Balmain, the people behind @diet_prada, as well as contacted Chloe Maggs, Suzy Eskander, and Steph Claire Smith for additional comment on this situation.
I will update this post if and when I hear back — and will, of course, keep you posted on everything as the story evolves.