The Runway Report: Balenciaga's dark sojourn is a statement
Demna Gvasalia is hardly known for his lightness, but Balenciaga Fall 2020 was – from setting to fashion – a dark sojourn of immeasurably sinister proportions. The Parisian venue was flooded with both apocalyptic lighting that came in torrid-spells of overhead storms, and water, which engulfed both the catwalk and the first two rows of stadium seating.
The clothing for both men and women was, largely, black. Punctuations of electric blue and crimson offered no respite from the shadows – applied to tough leathers and unconventional cuts, the collection embodied an intimidating presence, which can only be described as a highly-feshitized masterpiece.
A menagerie of manacing talent, including Ivo Raspudic, a mechanical engineer, and Daniel Birkner, a bike messenger, wore contact lenses of black and red.
The clothing itself flitted convincingly through various uniforms of both religious and cultural influence; clerical robes dragged on the floor by models who walked on water – giving duality to the biblical references. Two-piece motorcycle suits bore the brands name like Motocross sponsors, and fresh, new-season kits for Balenciaga’s fictional football-team came in both home and away shades of luminous green and midnight navy.
The culmination of evening appropriate streetwear, anabolic fits and recontextualisation of uniform in the most taboo of interpretations bordered the aesthetic of Couture – perhaps unsurprisingly, given Demna’s first demonstration of which will take place at Paris Haute Couture week this July. These are the kind of tempestuously provocative runway-moments you can wait a life for – or in the case of Balenciaga, until next Septembers fashion week.