Wednesday 21st June

| BY Jack Moss

Balenciaga: Menswear SS18

Something familiar about this – sitting in a park, staring mistily at hot young dads and fantasising about having what we’ll call a Julia Roberts in Stepmom moment, where the children, though at first reticent, come to love us as much as they love Susan Sarandon, and wouldn’t it just be useful to have some stepchildren about the house to like, clean our shoes and stuff? Today we were doing so in Paris’ Bois de Boulogne, the outdoor park was the location for Demna’s Balenciaga SS18 menswear show, a show about, as the press release offered (and you may have guessed), “young dads in the park with their kids at the weekend.” Those corporate money monsters of last season having a weekend off. And when we say daddies here we are not using it lightly, we actually mean it – there were LITERAL children (quel horreur!) on the runway, some carried, babes-in-arms style. Don’t they know about our allergies?

The clothes themselves, because that’s what we’re here for – well, they were this sort of mix between hiking attire, 90s dad from a Christmas movie (see: Tim Allen) and the weekend remnants of last season’s boardroom. In practice, this meant that big-shouldered tailoring returned, here the shape a bit looser, worn with striped shirts that twisted slightly at the collar, massive polo-shirts (branded), very normal jeans, viscose Hawaiian shirts, technical outerwear in the block-colours of old shell suits. This normality was mixed up with something more perverse – take, for example, the trousers, that zipped off at both the knee and upper thigh, in panels of leather and denim, or the strange clear plastic ponchos that sat over the latter half of the collection. The park itself is known for it’s illicit after-dark activities – is that what our daddies were rushing away from? Or towards? Beyond the theme, though, was this clever way that Balenciaga, under Demna, has come to “own” certain things – technical outwear – theirs – the slightly warped jean – theirs – the handbag-that-shouldn’t-be-a-handbag – theirs. Demna both reflects and refracts reality in a most brilliant way.