And just like that (no pun intended!), Demna (note: from now on, Demna (Gvasalia) uses only his first name, distinguishing an artist title from a birthname and therefore separating creative work from personal life) does it again. He’s the modern-day fashion genius, we know it by now. Also, good bye to the Y2K trend – the 1990s are back. The Balenciaga pre-fall 2022 presentation comes in the form of a message from the past about what could have been and never was. It recalls a time when clothing that was alive with raw ideas – anti-fashion, deconstruction, and monochromatic minimalism – could be found anywhere from an industry spectacle to the active underground. “On The Lost Tape“, a fashion show is characterized by the people and things that defined this late-90s era, filmed using a VHS camera by the one & only Harmony Korine. The collection symbolically fills a gap from Balenciaga’s forgotten years. Raver and post-grunge silhouettes are pushed to their limits. Proportions are played with, creating new silhouettes and evolving others, including Balenciaga signatures like the Basque waist jacket and the track suit. Front-to-back pieces are studies of classic suiting and tweed dresses that question closure placement, reverse-engineering constructions to become tailored. Ultra-stretchy knits make these and shrunken twin sets easy to put on. Vintage slip dresses are disassembled and pieced back together. Five-pocket jeans are cut up to create a three-piece silhouette that can be worn as a miniskirt, pants, or XL thigh-high boots. Fluid tailoring gives a deconstructed suit an unlined raglan sleeve, in the collection’s Belgian avant-goth tones. A Couture-like bell-shaped puffer’s detachable bow can be used as a scarf. Wrap closures use DIY ways of fastening, like oversized safety pins. And what’s the designer’s dream 90s look? “Me, my favorite looks are the flared raver jeans with the crop tops,” he told Vogue and chuckled wistfully. “Couldn’t wear it now, but reminds me of gay Soviet Georgia underground clubs.” Worth adding: Demna’s commitment to responsible production continues, represented this season with 89.6% certified sustainable plain and printed ready-to-wear fabrics as well as pieces of upcycled leather used in garments and accessories.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.