Demna Gvasalia’s latest collection for Balenciaga is perhaps the pinnacle of his experimentation with digital. To begin with the event is not live, contrary to what one might think. Even the models are actually the same person, namely the artist Eliza Douglas whose facial features have been altered virtually to deceive the viewer.
“It’s a show that never happened” confirms the designer. Gvasalia has always been interested in the dichotomous relationship between the construction of the fashion event and its product; while the latter is built with threads, real fabrics, whose materiality is full of meanings, the show and all that is part of it is instead a frame built on fantasies, resulting in distorted realities.
As with the Fall 2021 collection, the designer again uses technology to tell his vision of the world and fashion. Also this time, the collaboration with Gucci returns: “Alessandro and I are very different, but we both like to question this whole question around branding and appropriation…because everyone does it, whether they say it or not.” said Demna.
Here then, on totes bag appears the logo “This is not a Gucci Bag” in reference of René Magritte’s painting dated 1929 The Treachery of Images. The irony also transpires from the GG logo transformed into BB on bags and belts, emphasizing how little is important according to his vision, to define who did what first, and how much of authenticity is actually built.
The humor continues with the prints on the sweatshirts that portray the Simpsons while wearing Balenciaga, in the puffer jackets wrapped around the silhouette like a blanket; there are the pieces of unmistakable tailoring signed Gvasalia translated into oversized squared jackets, balanced by tight evening gowns in black and bright red.
The show follows a clear chronological path that starts from February 2020, exemplified by the black veil; “It’s almost like mourning something, where we’ve all been”, explained the designer. “But I wanted it to go into a bright space. And I ended it with a red ballroom dress”.