Balenciaga Resort 2024 | Runway
Resort 2024

Courtesy of Balenciaga

Ever since Demna founded Vetements, wry observation of how people dress on the street and for various occupations has always been a dynamic behind his design. The scenario playing out in his new Balenciaga video is very much that way, except that this time the street is the Avenue Georges V. The time-lapse slice-of-life captures people busily going in and out of the Balenciaga maison at number 10, or passing by. Whether they’re denim-clad teens, a motorcycle delivery person, a bourgeois dog walker, a skateboarder, or the retinues of black-clad hoodie-up fashion people going about their business—this is how the whole monde would look if everyone dressed in Balenciaga.

It’s entertaining. We watch as the insider members of the perma-shaded Balenciaga gang deal with the unwonted indignity of being caught in a sudden Parisian downpour. A character, clad in a long beige mackintosh with a tartan lining, saunters from the house looking all cool, until they suddenly panic, pat themselves down, and have to turn back in, realizing they’ve forgotten their keys, or more likely, their phone. Someone else desperately tries to find their Uber, or flag down a cab. Finally, the rain proves a terrible inconvenience to the glamorous personages—are they there for a couture fitting?—who are forced to scuttle into the doorway wearing their silver-sequined floor-length evening dresses, right in the middle of the day.

Underlining the fact that Demna is steering the brand narrative back to Paris, and to the house, he punningly named the collection Capital B. His second take on the collection is by way of a lookbook, apparently shot in grand rooms that variously overlook the Place Vendome and the Arc de Triomphe. Here, his perma-silhouettes are clearly in view: the oversized suiting, enveloping trapezoid coats and puffed-up trenches, the hoodies, and the bug-eyed ‘Dynamo round’ shades with almost everything. As a pre-collection it encompasses every Balenciaga category, womenswear and menswear, formal black tailoring to denim, motorcycle leathers and sweatpants. Interspersed are also pieces from the high-luxe ‘Garde-Robe’ collection, which are an annual release, such as the silver-fringed embroidered dress at the end.

But it’s the accessories in Demna’s Balenciaga world that teeter on that inimitable line he enjoys walking between the reappropriated common object and the absurd. His ‘towel’ wrap skirts are indistinguishable from actual towels. The Rodeo boot bag is a tote that really does look like the person is solemnly carrying a ginormous pair of brown leather boots. The 24/7 bags are string market bags, but tricked out in rhinestones.

Some of these are pre-existing Demna-isms. The hyper-elongated turned-up square-toed “Romeo mules,” however, are a fresh introduction. They’re almost a caricature of swagger—possibly transferred directly from a cartoon or computer game (we don’t know, because Demna wasn’t quoting this time). Still, his chuckle can be distinctly detected behind this work, forever asking: Is this cool, or is it silly? Is it cool because it’s silly? And at what point does it all become normalized again, because that’s just the way everyone dresses on the street?

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