The irreverent Spanish fashion house gets to grips with ‘clones’ in their SS22 collection.
If we’ve come to expect anything from Demna Gvasalia’s Balenciaga runways, aside from a reworked Croc, it has to be a slew of absurd references to the real world, contorted just so slightly to be out-of-reach and worthy of their pricey sales tags. From Divine’s legendary blood-red fishtail skirt made famous in John Waters’ cult classicPink Flamingos, to a reworked carrier bag from your local Tesco, Gvasalia will always find a way to twist what us mere mortals know of the world around us.
The concept of Balenciaga’s SS22 show is clones, and I’m sure if ‘Dolly The Sheep’ was still alive and kicking she’d be trotting down that runway too. Instead, the house relied on the talents of brand muse and artist Eliza Douglas, who has closed or opened more or less every show since Gvasalia took over as Creative Director. All is not as it seems however, as the team have deep-faked new faces onto their lone soldier, thus exposing us to a new world of digital beings not entirely of this world.
Things start off big and boxy. Silhouettes appear larger-than-life or drooped like a tired head in hats made entirely from strands of chainmail, on pastel-hued dresses covered with child-like scribbles of flowers and illegible Balenciaga logos, or on coats, and plenty of them. Thick or thin, all were slouched and draped in some fashion, paired with thick-soled wellington boots and a choice shopping carrier. Even puffer-gilets get this treatment, endowed with chunky necks and layers of scarves.
Elsewhere, Gvasalia retaliated to Alessandro Michele’s runway ‘hack’ with Balenciaga’s own rendition of the Gucci monogram plastered over bags, hats or even cast in gold across standalone belt buckles, reinventing two staunch house codes into a new formula. With the show being soundtracked by an AI that was trained to sing “La Vie En Rose”, do you reckon we’re living in a simulation yet? We think so.
Ending the festivities with eveningwear, reworked house staples, medieval headgear, some killer rave pants and some signature heavy shoulder pad action, Gvasalia’s captured it all. I suppose the only thing missing is the cast of The Matrix morphing through the audience on a mission to save the world – but that’s exactly what Cruise shows are for.