Challenging our sense of reality through a screen, the show which seemed to host an all-black-wearing audience was actually completely virtual, without a single physical spectator. In conversation with Vogue, Demna stated “It’s a show that never happened, but the clothes are real, they were made”.
If this exploration of ‘what’s real and what’s not’ wasn’t mind-boggling enough, Balenciaga enlisted artist and model Eliza Douglas (who you might recognize as the model who opens and/or closes every Balenciaga show since 2016) to showcase all 44 menswear and womenswear looks. Directed by Quentin Deronzier, the video uses deep fakes and photogrammetry as well as CG scans of Douglas, taking ‘Clones’ to a whole new level.
In true Demna fashion, the show had an undeniable underlying Matrix feel to it, with re-iterations of his signature oversized black puffer coats and cyber-goth sunglasses. Oversized tailored jackets, head scarfs on head scarfs and floor-length metal-hooped denim skirts, Demna taps into his usual design aesthetic we all drool over while throwing in some archival pieces in the mix, such as the diamenté accessories.
And to get even more meta, a sequel to Gucci’s recent ‘Aria’ show hacked by Balenciaga is presented through the collection. Playing with the idea of authenticity, counterfeits and appropriation within fashion, Demna uses Gucci’s signature double-G diamond monogram, switching the G to a B, on a wide range of accessories and leather goods. The ‘This Is No A Gucci Bag’ tagged pieces are not to be dismissed as an easy cash grab, but instead are a further exploration of what is real and what is not, but most importantly if it even matters – doesn’t the idea of a luxury counterfeit seem paradoxical?
While we’d let you ponder on that last note, this Balenciaga show had countless other tricks up its sleeves. A nod to fast food, a sweatshirt featuring the Simpsons wearing Balenciaga pieces from last season… the show remains true to the brand, if that even means anything at this point. We also saw a second collaboration between the luxury brand and Crocs. The classic clog was turned into pumps, boots and platform slides. The Runner sneakers, introduced in Winter 2021, also made its comeback, alongside square-toed Derbies and Trooper boots.
If you haven’t seen it yet, check out the mind-bending, slightly unsettling and definitely reality-questioning show that is Balenciaga Spring 2022 below.