Balenciaga Summer 2024 was the moment the Demna-helmed House needed. Following a slew of controversial moments – from the Holiday campaign that saw children holding bondage harness-wearing teddy bears, to the use of “unsettling documents” used in a campaign, and of course its affiliation with Kanye West – the House, under Demna’s wishes, pledged to take a gimmickless, more sartorial approach to fashion and design. This was evident with the Balenciaga Fall/Winter 2023 show, which while did feature some moments of playfulness, did strip back the Balenciaga brand as we knew it. This newfound identity only became clearer for Resort 2024, which laid itself back to a new horizontal playing field.
Balenciaga Summer 2024, on the other hand, was quite the momentous occasion. Held within a Balenciaga-ified theatre, decked in red velvet chairs, a matching elevated runway (per fashion traditions), and a red drape curtain veiling this enormous room, Summer 2024 was set to be opulent, dramatic, and true to Balenciaga’s heritage.
And it was. With Kris Jenner, Paris and Nicky Hilton, Alexis Stone as Glenn Close’s Cruella De Vil, Shygirl, Charli XCX, and hundreds of other attendees seated, the show was about to begin.
It opened with a black technical trench coat, dripping in both utilitarian undertones and polish. This is the Balenciaga we now know – a brand that combines its industry-leading relevance with elements of its heritage. And even though this may just be a trench coat, it’s explored here to the max. Because it was followed up by a black dress, and then another trench this time in traditional tones of tan, and all were enhanced by the curvaceous silhouettes brought to the world by the original man himself, Cristóbal Balenciaga.
Soon came floral dresses, pleated from the chest down per Balenciaga (and even VETEMENTS) norms. Size inclusivity was also a welcomed change for Balenciaga, bringing models along the red carpet in silky black ensembles that oozed elegance and class.
Diane Pernet then came along with her signature hairdo towering above a black leather coat, which felt like the start of the Second Act for Summer 2024. Here came the shoulders – powerful and pushed left and right of the neck, broader than anything that had ever come from Balenciaga before. These dramatically sharp lines adorned the blades of coats and impeccably tailored blazers, and acted as the perfect contrast to cinched waistlines – which, were not technically brought in, they were just so small in comparison.
In the middle of the show, Demna brought more accessible, wearing moments ranging from pants that had one leg as a jean, the other as a jogging bottom. Shrunken hoodies were plastered in Balenciaga branding, and a new sneaker was also debuted: the already-available Cargo Sneaker. It was seen in various colourways, but for true Balenciaga fans, you can buy it online and in selected flagship stores worldwide now.
Back to the clothes: a series of luxurious dressing gowns featured alongside camouflaged utility looks, and later, that leather biker jacket that Kim Kardashian was recently spotted in — oh, and she also walked the show in Look 61, wearing a 3D molded wet dress, sock-on-heel pantaleggings, and Knife pantashoes. More leathers appeared in metallic silver (a particular stand out, if you ask us), and then the pace changed again.
Per House norms, the show concluded with a spectacular showcase of couture-level dresses. Some were rich in pink sequins, others wrapped and pleated or draped. But it came to its crescendo with three notable moments.
First came Minttu Vesala, which saw them in a gold sequin-covered ball gown dripping in drama. Next, Amanda Lepore – which was frankly, iconic. Here, the star wore a fitted gown with an elongated train, all made from what seemed like one endless web of floral lace. It was absolutely stunning, peak Hollywood glamour, and couldn’t be more fitting for Lepore.
But what truly stuck in all the showgoers’ minds was the finale. BFRND, the artist that produces all of the music for Demna’s Balenciaga runway shows, wore a wedding dress. Not just any wedding dress, but one made from seven pre-2000s dresses that were cut up and layered upon each other.
Demna didn’t just do it again. Balenciaga Summer 2024 was Demna’s tour de force, a true testament to the legacy of the Spanish House, his ability as a designer, and his dedication to his craft.
More on Culted
See: LOEWE SS24.
Image: Eric Brain / Culted