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Balenciaga FW24 solidifies Demna’s downfall


Marcus Falcão / THE GATEPOST

By Bella Omar

Asst. Arts & Features Editor

Since Georgia-born Demna Gvasalia took over Balenciaga as creative director in 2015, the brand has gained notoriety for its unconventional approach to streetwear, destination shows, and celebrity collaborations.


Demna’s Balenciaga debut was for the brand’s Fall/Winter 2016 collection and it made waves by reimagining the work of Cristobal Balenciaga with modern, utilitarian takes on women’s wear. It utilized padding in traditionally streetwear pieces to impose dramatic, feminine silhouettes.


The brand continued to make headlines by utilizing unexpected runways, such as having gimp mask-clad models strut through the New York Stock Exchange to showcase their Spring/Summer 2023 collection just last year.


Some viewers applauded Balenciaga for what appeared to be bold social commentary while others, including myself, thought the gimmicky setting to barely distract from the painfully boring collection.


Any of Balenciaga’s current relevance can also be largely attributed to their close collaborations with public figures such as Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, and Cardi B.


Balenciaga’s two Spring/Summer 2023 campaigns put the brand in hot water given the uproar around the contents of the photos - children posing with BDSM-inspired teddy bears and several documents concerning child pornography laws.


Once regarded as an innovative beacon of the fashion world, Demna’s Balenciaga has now devolved into a series of tasteless collections that look almost as cheap as they are tone-deaf.


The fashion house’s Fall/Winter 2024 collection, showcased on Dec. 5 in sunny Hollywood, was no exception.


In contrast to Demna’s public denouncement of gimmicks and buzz, only after last year’s controversy, this recent show felt like just another stunt for attention.


Audience members lined Windsor Boulevard, unfortunately making one of Hollywood’s prettiest enclaves into the backdrop for the laziest collection I have ever seen.


The show opened with what looked like a series of morbid Equinox goers, dressed in all black, uninspired athleisure wear.


These looks were styled with comically large tennis shoes in several colorways that clearly served no other purpose than to create buzz.


Erewhon, renowned LA health food company collaborated with Balenciaga, releasing a limited edition smoothie in tandem with the collection - while leather renditions of Erewhon shopping bags were sported on the runway.


The grocer’s cult-like following made them a predictable choice for collaboration with Demna.


Ill-fitting knockoffs of Juicy Couture velour tracksuits in black, gray, red, blue, and pink then made their appearance. Paired with oversized matching boots, staying consistent with the theme of ridiculous footwear.


Somehow even more gimmicky accessories were made known as Balenciaga-branded disposable coffee cups and duffles could also be spotted throughout the show.


No craftsmanship was revealed still when models then walked down the runway in suit sets, featuring cartoonishly large shoulders, all in varying shades of black.


Then, garish cropped bomber jackets and bodycon dresses also appeared in more hastily-styled ensembles.


The most intentional looks were undoubtedly the few awkwardly fitting tweed sets, with puckering brass buttons to match.


The show closed with evening wear, showcasing cocktail dresses and coats that are both reminiscent of the “Men’s Trash Bag Large Pouch” that is currently retailing on Balenciaga’s web page for $1,790.


From being horribly unoriginal, utilizing lackluster colors and textiles, no amount of beautiful scenery, gimmicky grocery bags or large tennis shoes could make Balenciaga’s FW24 collection worth watching.


If Cristobal Balenciaga hadn’t died of a heart attack in 1972, seeing this collection would have done it instead.


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