The latest Balenciaga show by Demna Gvasalia was unforgettably apocalyptic (and ironically realistic), with the first two rows of seats in the amphitheater submerged underwater and scenes of climate apocalypse on the screens above. All eyes will be on him in October – I really, really can’t wait to see how will the designer recycle all that happened in 2020 so far. In the meantime, for resort 2021, Gvasalia and his team came up with a clever, low-concept way to showcase the collection, playing up the lack of IRL appointments by including in these photos all of the line sheet information an e-commerce buyer might glean in a showroom, virtual, or otherwise – all the way down to the garments’ and accessories’ material compositions and product IDs. Gvasalia admits that Balenciaga’s pre-collections aren’t really about newness. The pre-seasons are chances to elaborate on what he calls the house’s “archetypes,” pieces like oversized car coats and parkas, the tea-dress, logo denim, all kinds of tracksuits, hoodies and t-shirts, and cult accessories (think the “Knife” panta-shoes). This time around, the styling was done completely on-screen. “It was an experiment in showing you don’t always need the new,” Gvasalia told the press. “Fashion has become a race, running after novelty, and more and more. And here we did the opposite. We looked at what we have and asked what we can do with it so it looks different for the customer.” And how did the confinement affect – or inspired – Gvasalia? “The theme,” he continues, “was dress for yourself. In this lockdown we understood what’s important for people who like fashion and like to dress up: You do it for yourself first and foremost. Working from home started with me wearing boxer shorts and pajama pants: very lazy. I thought, I don’t have to make an effort to make my look every morning, but then I started getting depressed. When I started to dress up every morning, it changed my whole mood, I started to feel good about myself. This is the task that fashion has,” Gvasalia concludes, “to bring this excitement or goodness to the person wearing it. That’s the least we can do.”
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.