Balenciaga Brings The Apocalypse To Paris
Demna Gvasalia makes a statement on climate change for FW2O.
Regulars on the Fashion Week front row were shocked as they entered the darkened show space being used for Balenciaga FW20; the catwalk and the first 3 rows of seats were completely submerged underwater, forcing the audience to take a step back – literally.
It was clear Creative Director Demna Gvasalia was here to make a statement this season; on climate change and the state of our planet. As models waded down the flooded runway, an overhead screen played apocalyptic images of oceans and angry skies alongside orchestral music which made the atmosphere even more ominous.
Opening looks included black oversized silhouettes, high necklines and hoods which had an undertone of religious dress, however, a closer look revealed models wore red or blacked out contact lenses, giving this theme a more sinister edge. Exaggerated shoulders and boxy shapes looked menacing under the red sky, reflecting off the immersed runway. The male models wore thigh high boots – a look which will be interesting to see if the Hypebeast crowd adopt (seems unlikely) - and it was refreshing to see a variety in the age of the models.
Leather pieces dominated the looks, with wearable leather skirts, trenches and high shine coats shown amongst full biker outfits. Prints were introduced with a few quilted floral looks which stood out against the sombre black. Evening gowns were extreme bodycon and had built in leggings and boots, including the showstopping finale look which was encrusted with sparkling silver.
Models clutched iPhones and some were seen to have charging cables wrapped around their ponytails, probably a nod to how much technology dictates our lives today, whilst the overhead screen changed to images of planes and intertwining roads – a comment on carbon emissions maybe?
Demna certainly gave us a lot to reflect on with this Fall collection and it will be interesting to see how this continues for the brands return to couture week (after a 52-year hiatus) in July. How can this feel like the end of the world, but also the future?