Balenciaga did it again — after making headlines last season as one of the most creative, futuristic luxury brands when it teamed up with Unreal Engine to digitally scan the models in a studio in Paris and transform them into avatars — the team ensured guests left the theatre smiling, surprised and satisfied, this season. Making them a part of the show at Paris Fashion Week, much to their surprise and joy, and following it up with The Simpsons x Balenciaga screening… creativity was at an all-time high. Was there an ovation? Of course there was. It was just so much fun.
Guests become part of the show
Among the most creative runway showing in this decade, the team fooled their own guests into becoming part of the presentation… guests on the red carpet had no clue that the official models were walking alongside them until a screen relayed their entrance and highlighted which outfits were part of the showcase!! Per The New York Times, it was a “knife-sharp belly laugh of an experiment on… our digital lives, where posing has become the norm (and) voyeurism is a constant.”
Indeed, it was a laugh-a-riot as guests seated in Théâtre du Châtelet watched a big-screen livestream of the red carpet arrivals!! Per Vogue, “Soon, it was clear that everyone was in on the joke: The familiar Balenciaga tribe of Demna’s house models, lining up to pose in character as celebrities; actual celebrities lining up to pose as models; celebrity models posing as celebrity models. Cardi B and Offset! Lewis Hamilton! Dev Hynes! Naomi! Amber! Ella Emhoff! Mark Tuan! Elliot Page! Isabelle Huppert!” Demna—wearing a black veil, hoodie and jeans, was the last to arrive.
“I’ve wanted to do a premiere concept where the guests would be the show for many seasons,” Demna Gvasalia told Vogue. “It’s more like a music or movie business, in the way you can convey things. I like exploring these borders.”
The Simpsons x Balenciaga
There was another surprise lined up for the guests: the red carpet performance was simply the buildup to a special screening. As the lights dimmed, a Simpsons x Balenciaga sketch was displayed on the screen and then The Simpsons were shown relocating to Paris and somehow ending up walking in Demna Gvasalia’s show!! Per Vogue, “From Patty and Selma Bouvier’s (quite literally) smouldering approach to the architectural outerwear, to Smithers’s Isabelle Huppert moment in the brand’s infamous thigh-high stretch-satin knife boots, the cartoon characters are unexpectedly quite fabulous as the new faces of Balenciaga. Marge could well front the spring/summer 2022 campaign. The biggest takeaway? Fashion can be silly, and don’t take tips from Homer on French kissing. Watch it right now here.”
While Balenciaga transformed its image to a leadership position as a multi-platform body in the autumn winter 2021 season of Paris Fashion Week, flipping between digital and physical platforms, its SS22 presentation tapped into our longing for the kind of madcap creative risks that has largely gone missing in the grim pandemic era. The runaway success of the showing underlined how designers should still be able to go after the unexpected and take a bit of risk. With a creative vision, in design and technology, the brand used the platform of one of the most important fashion weeks to once again position itself as a leader that understands the future of fashion.
“I see a lot of potential in merging fashion with games, and in-game shopping is certainly the tool to be considered in the near future. The sky’s the limit. Every time I go into that studio, it’s like Christmas every day”, Demna Gvasalia told Vogue.
Jasmeen Dugal is a senior writer and author for FashionABC where she is responsible for writing stories that cover the fashion industry as a whole, from fashion events to innovative brands that are transforming the industry through the use of the metaverse, sustainability, and new digital solutions. She is also very active on Instagram with more than 92k followers.
Before joining FashionABC, Jasmeen worked with Condenast India as Digital Editor, and she was instrumental in launching Vogue India’s official website. Her experience in the industry spans over a decade, during which time she has gained invaluable insights into the workings of the fashion world.
Four years ago, Jasmeen embarked on a new adventure and launched her own luxury portal, where she continues to focus on telling the stories of the people behind the brands. Her unique approach to editorial has helped her stand out in the industry, and her work is highly regarded by her peers.
Jasmeen is also an active social media user and can be followed on Twitter at @jasmeenGdugal and Instagram at @jasmeengdugal. Her social media presence showcases her expertise in the industry and provides her followers with valuable insights into the latest trends and developments in the world of fashion.