Balenciaga showed its Resort 2024 collection yesterday and it was, to put it frankly, boring. With clothes feeling like a copy-paste version of the previous look, all we can wonder is where is the flavour? Where is the excitement? Where is Demna and what is he doing?
Ever since the controversy Balenciaga found itself in, the house has decidedly taken a left turn in creative direction. The first post-cancellation collection was stripped of all the usual Balenciaga theatrics – even the cult “Balenciaga walk” was missing – taking place on a regular runway during PFW.
Just like the Fall 2023 collection, the latest Resort offering was stripped back to basics – think long leather coats, boxy suit jackets and black hoodies. Except for the occasional red-panelled motorcycle boots, the whole collection, which was showcased with a series of Parisian apartment-set images, was seen in dark, muted tones. While some pieces stood out more than others, the overall vibe was nothing short of a let down.
The most exciting thing that came out of this collection was its campaign video, in which models could be seen walking out of an apartment, through the streets, the camera following different models as they passed. Stylistically interesting, it’s still worth questioning how much credit to give to Demna versus the video editors who brought this campaign to life. As the video went on, rain started pouring on the models, scurrying to open up their umbrellas, which seems to be a metaphor for Demna’s time at Balenciaga – once a thriving creative director, the Georgian creative now sees the rain pouring down on his parade.
Pre-scandal, Demna’s Balenciaga was fun, risqué and borderline outrageous, but in the way that people either hate it or love it, rather than a collective disapproval. No matter what was shown, there was talk after the show. The only thing that was worth noticing this season was a towel slung onto models’ waists, but even that felt like a haphazard, a last minute styling choice thrown onto looks solely for the purpose of having something to talk about.
Sure, we can credit the collection on its brilliant use of materials and its high quality craftsmanship, but as fashion YouTuber and journalist Odunayo Ojo pointed out, Demna is a designer not a “material engineer”. So the in-house team can stay, but Demna’s decision to stay at the brand is one that should maybe be reconsidered.
Waiting for the Balenciaga fan to tell me “but this collection is fire though, the dress is made from Bamboo and the denim is actually leather.” Demna is a designer not a material engineer, he has a team that does all that. Hence, why I don’t give designers massive credit for it.— Ayo Ojo (@fashionroadman) May 30, 2023
The change in creative direction is understandable considering the heat Demna found himself in. Not only were people attacking him for his lack of attention to those campaign images that caused a stir, many used this opportunity to voice their opinions on his own personal aesthetic, judging it too separated from the original couturier Cristóbal Balenciaga’s own vision. With a now toned-down aesthetic that feels neither Balenciaga nor Demna, it could be time for Demna to move on.
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