Balenciaga: Spring 2022
A Gucci hack and a deepfake catwalk, a new Crocs collaboration and tracksuits: these were just a few of the many take-aways from Demna Gvasalia’s Balenciaga spring 22 digital show. The co-ed collection was entitled Clones and the film, directed by Quentin Deronzier, reflected ideas and anxieties about what is real and what is not when we experience the world through a digital filter. He used post-production techniques to turn every model on the stark, space-age catwalk into a clone of the artist and model Eliza Douglas, who is a favourite muse of the house.
“We see our world through a filter—perfected, polished, conformed, photoshopped. We no longer decipher between unedited and altered, genuine and counterfeit, tangible and conceptual, fact and fiction, fake and deepfake. Technology creates alternate realities and identities, a world of digital clones,” said the brand in a statement.
The hacking project that started in April, with the Guccification of Balenciaga silhouettes, was reciprocated. Balenciaga, took Gucci’s iconic GG monogram and twisted it to become BB. The merged signature appeared on bags that were almost dead ringers for Gucci classics. With a hint of delight, Gvasalia likened a large tote daubed with the message, “This is not a Gucci bag” to vandalising. Both the blockbuster Gucci and Balenciaga hacks will be available in November.
The collection majored on pieces that are wearable and functional. Trenches, parkas, puffas, hoodies: much of the outerwear was reversible – but the proportions and silhouettes were taken to sculptural extremes. Construction and cut are very much a hallmark of this house. Tracksuits were elevated to house signatures, whilst oversized cargo pants, laden with pockets and straps, came with a cybergoth twist. T-shirts depicted The Simpsons family after a Balenciaga make-over.
Those Gucci hack bags weren’t the only talking point accessories. In keeping with the ‘don’t believe your eyes’ theme, an archetypal shopping basket looked like it was plastic but was actually fashioned from thermo-formed leather whilst a carbon fibre clutch was designed to look like fast food packaging. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, those toe-shoes are back along with a second instalment of the Balenciaga Crocs collaboration (platform pool slides and wellies). The show closed with the striking mermaid gown – a tribute to the one worn by drag legend Divine in the 1972 movie Pink Flamingos. Next stop couture.
Photography courtesy of Balenciaga.