To present his latest collection, Balenciaga’s artistic director, Demna Gvasalia, dared to present the catwalk show entirely virtually, in the form of a video game. A first ! After his apocalyptic fashion show last March, the designer is asserting himself as the figurehead of a new generation that is shaping the future of fashion.
At a time when brands are having to rethink the organization of shows without the presence of the public and are multiplying digital initiatives to offer new formats, Demna Gvasalia opens new doors for the future of fashion. For its mixed ready-to-wear collection for the fall of 2021, the artistic director of Balenciaga designed a 100% virtual and interactive presentation, to which journalists and professional buyers received a handwritten and olfactory invitation accompanied by a virtual reality headset to “attend” the fashion show, while the general public could also discover the collection through an ephemeral video game, accessible online, entitled “Afterworld : The Age of Tomorrow.”
The latter propels you into the year 2031. You can then choose your character to evolve in a world populated by models from Balenciaga’s latest collection. As a bonus to this adventure is a reward : to become master of two worlds at the crossroads of reality and digital utopia. As you progress, you will discover the unusual wardrobe of this new collection with which the visionary designer surprises and fascinates : extra-large cuts, the return of the trompe-l’oeil sweatshirts, NASA-logoed down jackets, poppy-red faux fur coats and fluorescent yellow jogging suits. All these pieces illustrate the designer’s mastery of proportions and his fascinating ability to renew Balenciaga’s silhouettes and avant-garde spirit. The centerpiece of the collection, an astonishing suit of armor made of a material imitating steel, with knight’s boots with pointed toe, seems to come straight out of the Middle Ages or, in this case, out of “Fortnite.” References to urban culture and sportswear are superimposed on this handcrafted, silver shell, using ancient hammering techniques to form eminently desirable ensembles that project you into the future in a seductive swing between past and present. Imbued with a futuristic spirit, Demna Gvasalia has imagined a look of gaming between reality and fiction. Also guided by eco-responsibility, the visionary designer signs some sets, composed of discarded clothing, that could become the attributes of a new generation of heroes who, concerned about the environment, will prefer to wear parts until they wear out rather than throw them away.
Reinventing the future of the catwalk through her captivating shows, while designing a wardrobe that clearly displays her biases, Demna Gvasalia demonstrates her mastery of a style and cut in line with the codes of Generation Z, who will, no doubt, continue to take these new pieces to heart. Throughout Demna Gvasalia’s collections, the Balenciaga look appears as that of a new generation that is already working in tomorrow’s world.