Balenciaga and the attack of the clones

Understanding the seasonality of the collections presented outside the official fashion week calendar is a puzzle. Sunday June 6, Balenciaga presented its “Spring 22” collection. A few days before the start of the spring-summer 2022 men’s fashion weeks which will begin in London on June 11, before continuing in Milan and Paris, the Parisian house has unveiled a mixed line through screens.

Taking up the traditional codes of the fashion show, namely a long podium, an audience of guests seated in several rows and models succeeding one another at a frenetic pace, the staging of this video directed by Quentin Deronzier seems, at first glance , classic.

Reversible, the trench coats and coats offer different possibilities of use, while the wide pants are equipped with buckles and metal studs, or change into a jumpsuit.

This was without counting on the brand’s appetite to feed on new technologies. In recent seasons, Demna Gvasalia, at the helm of Balenciaga’s style since 2015, has indeed taken advantage of the virtual parades imposed by the pandemic to propel her silhouettes into the heart of a video game larger than life, or to make her models travel virtually. from New York to Berlin, via the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

This time around, the collection called “Clones” has as its sole heroine the American model and painter Eliza Douglas, who lends her face to all the models walking the catwalk. Some of them are deepfake (these videos reproducing the features and gestures of a person) while in others, the face of Eliza Douglas has been digitally transposed onto the bodies of her sisters. We imagine the protagonist of the day having spent several hours electrodes on the face, in front of the famous green background of which Hollywood has the secret. Difficult to distinguish the true from the false.

The spectators, all dressed in black, were not actually there, but by the magic of technology, they appear quietly seated, cell phones in their hands. The use of digital tools can also be seen in the soundtrack composed by the musician BFRND: a feminine voice, generated artificially, repeats in a loop and in a monotonous tone the lyrics of the song. Life in pink, d’Edith Piaf.

Crocs and pumps

The designer, who seeks to demonstrate the various possible diversions and counterfeits in fashion, is also developing in terms of style. In April, Gucci, led by Alessandro Michele, introduced pieces from his collaboration with Balenciaga during his “Aria” fashion show, using the codes of the Parisian house. The latter returns the favor here and thus continues what the two designers have called the “Hacker Project”. We discover bags flocked with the monogram of the Italian house, the famous double G logo being replaced by a double B initials. Another displays the inscription “This is Not a Gucci Bag”. A clever way of blurring the lines and questioning the authenticity of luxury accessories.

The deconstruction games, signature of the designer of Georgian origin, are nested on the jackets of tailors, which then take on unusual proportions, but also on the parkas and down jackets with shortened sleeves and the long coats with the fastener shaped like the using a safety pin. Reversible, the trench coats and coats offer different possibilities of use, while the wide pants are equipped with buckles and metal studs, or change into a jumpsuit.

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A collection punctuated by popculture, with a sweatshirt representing the characters of The Simpsons, dressed in Balenciaga pieces from past collections, or another that twists the codes of advertising. The painter Julian Farade signs naive and colorful prints on long and vaporous dresses. In addition, the collaboration with the shoe label Crocs continues with models of high boots, pumps and platform sandals.

What about Balenciaga glamor? It appears on the last silhouettes, with long draped evening dresses, a bustier jumpsuit for the evening or a red velvet dress ending in a corolla. But the slippage is never far away, evidenced by the fleeting make-up. At the beginning of July, the house will present an haute couture collection, a first for Balenciaga in fifty-two years.

Balenciaga Spring 22.
Balenciaga Spring 22.
Balenciaga Spring 22.
Balenciaga Spring 22.
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