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Balenciaga Expands Its Dystopian Universe for Fall 2024

— Photo by Giovanni Giannoni/WWD via Getty Images

If the brightly lit screens full of influencer “get ready with me” videos, dreamy sunsets, and endless scrolling on TikTok weren’t enough to jolt guests out of a sleepy Sunday morning mood, then it was Balenciaga’s dresses with protruding faux hip bones that had the front row’s eyes opening wide. The French house, which showed its fall 2024 collection at Les Invalides in Paris on March 3, referred to these jutting shapes as “hip-aulette” (shoulder pads sewn into the hip)—and they were one of the most impactful silhouettes of the brand’s latest outing.

Also interesting—the “frozen drape dresses,” which looked smashed and vacuum-packed to the models’ bodies, sticking to their figures with a kind of surreal, twisted texture that referenced wrinkled clothing. Balenciaga sent each guest a unique one-of-a-kind antique object as an invite to the show, and the overwhelming message of the collection seemed to speak to overstimulation, stuff, and the objects that fall away, forgotten. Take, for instance, maxi faux-fur coats, which were distressed and aged with resin and raw cuts. Some models wore shielded black-out sunglasses or beanies that went down over the eyes and past their noses, as if to metaphorically and physically protect them from the information overload happening on the screens.

All the usual Balenciaga tropes circa creative director Demna were there: exaggerated sportswear, oversize Gothic pieces with a punkish spin, and the meme-ified gimmicks that endlessly delight the brand’s superfans. This time, that meant eBay-logo polos and visible retail tags hanging from clothing (another play on the commodification of objects new and old). The bag of the season was the real-world inspired nylon tote bag—a familiar object to all.

— Photo by Giovanni Giannoni/WWD via Getty Images
— Photo by Giovanni Giannoni/WWD via Getty Images
— Photo by Giovanni Giannoni/WWD via Getty Images
— Photo by Giovanni Giannoni/WWD via Getty Images
— Photo by Giovanni Giannoni/WWD via Getty Images

The brand referenced Cristobal Balenciaga specifically in the show notes, and there were a few looks that seemed to nod to his design legacy. Three hoodies combined into a dress, whose sleeves flowed like a mermaid tail, was a supposed reinterpretation of the iconic Balenciaga bubble dress. Even so, the collection felt purely Demna, propelled by his aesthetic which has become undeniably recognizable in today’s fashion landscape. The fake out hoodies that looked like a pair of brand-new jeans, still folded with the tags on, and the garments made out of the brand’s dust bags felt central to the theme. A model wearing a backpack as a top with knee-high boots was a performance element designed for social media virality.

In a social media-driven world where we’re digesting thousands of images per day, the rapid pace of the moving screens and the many, many layers of fabric was a visual representation of a dystopian universe dominated by content overload and material excess. Or maybe it’s just our new reality.

— Photo by Giovanni Giannoni/WWD via Getty Images
— Photo by Giovanni Giannoni/WWD via Getty Images
— Photo by Giovanni Giannoni/WWD via Getty Images
— Photo by Giovanni Giannoni/WWD via Getty Images
— Photo by Giovanni Giannoni/WWD via Getty Images
— Photo by Giovanni Giannoni/WWD via Getty Images
— Photo by Giovanni Giannoni/WWD via Getty Images
— Photo by Giovanni Giannoni/WWD via Getty Images
— Photo by Giovanni Giannoni/WWD via Getty Images
— Photo by Giovanni Giannoni/WWD via Getty Images


Source: W Magazine

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