Balenciaga have always been one to put on a show. Most recently, the brand teased its upcoming collection with a mysterious show invitation in the form of a VHS, titled ‘The Lost Tape’, and now the much-anticipated collection of the same name has dropped.
The Lost Tape takes us on a high fashion matrix-rave inspired journey, tapping inspiration from the 90s and the iconic fashion figures who thrived in that era. Amongst these people making cameos in the vintage inspired collection were Naomi Campbell and Diane Pernet. It wasn’t entirely stuck in the past, though: Demna (who just announced he would be dropping his last name) manipulated classic Balenciaga silhouettes in order to imply the presence of the future throughout the nostalgia-driven collection.
As the show notes described, the presentation encapsulated both “what could have been and never was”, further illustrating the central concern of past and future. The colour palette was predominantly dark in classic Balenciaga style, but the range of pieces were vast. Slip dresses appeared alongside denim three-pieces, and a trench coat / bathrobe hybrid was present alongside tracksuits. Demna gave us new silhouettes by utilising deconstructed tailoring and billowing jackets, pointing towards the futuristic aspect of the show’s concept.
A main takeaway from the show though, and arguably from fashion this year in general, was that it’s time to bare all: crop tops are back, and now they’re genderless. Balenciaga’s Lost Tape demonstrated that in revealing your midriff, torso and in some cases, hips, you can see the under-layers of a look; here, this means Balenciaga-branded underwear bands.
Demna didn’t scrimp on the accessories front either, giving us a range of futuristic sunglasses, hardware-embellished leather bags and an updated ‘Emo Bag’ complete with fetish straps. Elsewhere, shoes were bold, dark and grungy – think Ye’s favourite croc boots upgraded to now sit on the thigh. Interspersed in this were a pair of genderless square-toed flats and wader-inspired cowboy boot hybrids. It was controlled chaos, in the distinctive Balenciaga aesthetic.
For fans desperate to tap into the Lost Tape, they can be assured that the whole collection is produced using 89.6% certified sustainable plain and printed fabrics, and that the leather on display is upcycled. In this evolutionary, yet homage-paying collection from Balenciaga off the back of a major year for the brand, we see an assured, confident offering that continues to push the boundaries of our expectations.