Alongside a stellar line-up including Nicole Kidman, Naomi Campbell, Bella Hadid, Christine Quinn, and Demna’s usual cast of beautiful weirdos
Wednesday morning, July 6, marked what has arguably been the hottest day on the SS22 Haute Couture calendar, with Balenciaga, Olivier Rousteing’s vision for Jean Paul Gaultier, and Margiela’s IRL return for the first time post(ish) COVID all on the agenda. Kicking things off was Demna, and tbh, given how stellar the show was, I’m kind of wondering: where the hell do we go from here?
The show began in its usual fashion: screaming hordes of kids outside and a sea of cameras held over heads, black Mercedes endlessly rolling up, spilling famous people in full Balenciaga looks out of their doors, and speeding off up the Avenue George V – home of the house’s newly reinstated couture salon – to await their charges post-show, and plenty of glam fashiony people dashing around to get that content, baby.
The energy in the room was electric as people took their seats and the Balenciaga team ushered everyone to wrap up the chat, particularly given there was one big clue that a specific person may or may not be walking the show – namely, the appearance of Kris Jenner and nine-year-old fashionista North, who sat front row on the show’s golden chairs. No sign of Kim, editors whispered to each other, which was pretty weird when just yesterday she was papped in a camo lewk by Demna while heading to a Dior appointment in Paris (Northy, meanwhile, rocked one of her dad’s old Pastelle jackets – more on that here).
The show kicked off with a succession of all black looks, as models wearing retro-futuristic, high-shine helmets, and sleek tailoring emerged from the salon’s carved ivory doors carrying speakers that blasted the show’s soundtrack in their hands, before the monochrome looks made way for sparkling crystal-encrusted looks with angular hips and Demna’s signature power shoulders, minis that exploded with spiked, severe feathers, and gorgeous faux fur coats with Ocelot-like patterns the wrapped around, engulfing their wearers like luxurious and very expensive dressing gowns.
And then, proving nothing gets past the fashion lot, in came Kim and co. The Kardashian mogul swept through the venue in a moulded asymmetric bustier dress with full-length gloves and Demna’s angular, ergonomic patent stilettos. But while KK was not really a surprise, some of her cast mates were. First up was Dua Lipa, in an acid yellow cocktail dress – which makes sense since the singer has been wearing exclusively Balenciaga costumes on her recent world tour – before Naomi Campbell and Christine Quinn joined her. So far, so surprising.
The kicker, however, was the moment Nicole Kidman stepped into the salon in a silver gown with a dramatic, sweeping train. Disproving that ‘nothing gets past the fashion crowd’ comment – and pretty damn quickly, lol – even Keith Urban sitting front row didn’t give the game away, when perhaps it should have done? The show closed with the new iterations of the supersized dresses from the EU conference show of SS20, in powder-puff pink, inky black, and lastly, a glittering silver number for the Balenciaga bride, so brilliantly big it barely fit through the doors of the space.
While Demna (who, in case you’d forgotten, goes simply by his mononym now) shunned famous people in his early years, posting real Balenciaga fans across the house’s social media channels and filling his campaigns and runway shows with interesting faces, more recently the Georgian designer has been embracing celebrities. As well as enlisting the likes of Isabelle Huppert, Justin Bieber, and Cardi B to feature in recent campaigns, he also kitted out Kanye’s Donda tour, and essentially the rapper and Kim K’s divorce, before later subverting the concept of fame through the Met Gala look he created for the Kardashian in 2021, which rendered her anonymous, but also, given the level of her global fame, not at all.