Balenciaga: For Spring 2022, non-conformist clones and a Gucci collab
The entire audience was all dressed essentially in conformist black for the latest iconoclastic show video of Balenciaga, a Spring 2022 collection revealed in a show video this weekend that was worn by just one model.
However, some 160 people managed to be part of the audience, sitting inside an all-white space worthy of THX 1138, perched on four rows, many of them using mobile phones to record the clothes worn by artist Eliza Douglas, a regular star feature in recent Balenciaga shows.
“We see our world through a filter - perfected, polished, conformed, photoshopped. We no longer decipher between unedited and altered, genuine and counterfeit, tangible and conceptual, fact and fiction, fake and deepfake. Technology creates alternate realities and identities, a world of digital clones,” argued Balenciaga’s creative director Demna Gvasalia in a release.
To underline his point, Demna – as he is universally known – got video director Quentin Deronzier to digitally transform Douglas as a series of digital clones, some of which were deepfakes, or models with Eliza’s photogrammetry-captured or CG-scanned face digitally.
The collection also featured Demna returning the compliment to his fellow Kering conglomerate creative director, Alessandro Michele of Gucci. A month ago, in Gucci’s April 15 Aria collection, Michele showed his first linkup with Balenciaga - hacking jackets, blazers and parkas emblazoned with competing Balenciaga and double-G logos on black leather logo satchels.
Gvasalia responded with some great black Gucci double-'GG' check totes; and shoulder-strap mini-bags with red and green Florentine trim, completed with double 'BB' buckles. A born humorist, one tote even had a slap-dash inscription reading, 'This Is Not a Gucci Bag.'
Commercially, this was very much a money-in-the-bank collection – crowned by the accessory of the season, a beige Gucci leather belt with reverse 'BB' buckle, a full five months before this collection reaches retail shelves.
Demna, who showed faux knight’s armor in his previous brand video, played on the medieval mood this time with chainmail headpieces in silver, chrome and rusty metal. His whole tenure at the house has been defined by volume, and this collection took it to a new levels - with massive, and massively buckled, TLC-rapper jeans; humungous nun’s cassocks, albeit in canary yellow; ginormous boyfriend’s tweedy blazers worn over leggings and returning hero bovver boots.
Something of the designer’s youth growing up in the dying days of the Soviet Union on the shores of the Black Sea also emerged in all the babushka headscarves; metallist goth dresses; and the retro socialist tracksuits. Plus his ability to meld street and chic remains a pleasure to behold, from the lime-green plastic shopping bags, that will soon be stars of multiple fashion shoots, to the uber-buckled giant jeans with handwritten 'Balenciaga' logos.
Adding to the sense of deadpan humor, the soundtrack was a mordant rendition of La Vie en Rose, read rather than sung, by BFRND. A spacey touch to a spacey show.
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