The designer tapped inspiring friends and family members to star in a sentimental show in Paris today
Day 5,785 of Paris Fashion Week, and this morning, Balenciaga was on the agenda. With a star-studded FROW and a knockout cast on the catwalk, here’s everything you need to know about the show.
THE INVITE WAS A BOOK DEDICATED TO BALENCIAGA’S COUTURE
After sending a cracked, smashed-up iPhone, a hotel keyring, and a battered wallet filled with cards and old cash for previous seasons, this time Balenciaga’s invite came in the form of an aged, yellowing book detailing elements of and techniques used within the collection. It tied in with the show’s soundtrack, which had Isabelle Huppert reading out instructions from the book on how to make a tailored jacket, accompanied by an orchestra, piano, and frenetic techno medley created by Demna’s husband and musician BFRND and produced by Damien Quintard. Meanwhile, slipping in an added element, Demna hid bass speakers under the seats, transforming the show’s soundtrack into a vibrating, immersive experience.
THE FROW WAS PACKED WITH ICONS
As always, the Balenciaga show rounded up a mixed bag of A-listers to grace the FROW, with 00s legend Paris Hilton showing off a head-to-toe glittering look, Kardashian mom-ager Kris Jenner cosying up to boyfriend Corey Gamble in matching bug-eyed sunnies, and Erykah Badu sporting a large, ruffled jacket and wrap-around headband. Icons only, we guess.
IT WAS STAGED IN A RED-CURTAINED THEATRE
While there’s no question that Demna’s Balenciaga runways always provide a sensational fashion spectacle, after last season’s pared-back AW23 show – which took place in a dimly-lit, touristy Parisian shopping mall – guests were left questioning whether SS24 would fall more towards the creative director’s new, simplistic approach or return to his signature provocative performances. Turns out, we landed on the latter. Entering the showspace, guests were greeted with an explosion of red, from the velvet seats to the lighting, and a raised-up carpeted runway framed by a backdrop of long, sweeping curtains. While it wasn’t quite the apocalyptic or mud-drenched chaos of Demna’s past runways, the venue did hint towards a carefully considered, cinematic show to follow.
DEMNA’S MUM KICKED OFF THE RUNWAY
@dazed Demna’s mother just opening Balenciaga SS24 ♥️ #DazedFashionTV #TikTokFashion #ParisFashionWeek #Runway #Balenciaga ♬ original sound - dazed
This season, Demna opened up his runway to the people who have influenced his work and artistry – from close family to Balenciaga team members, critics, and fashion icons. Kicking off the procession of models was none other than Demna’s mother, who trudged down the runway in an oversized, wrap-around trench coat with sleeves hanging long below her arms. Following closely behind was fashion legend Diane Pernet, who sported a leather trench and usual tied-up hair scarf; Kim Kardashian, who wore a skin-tight black latex dress, OFC; model and performer Amanda Lepore, who sashayed down the runway in a glittering black, lace gown; fashion journalist Cathy Horyn, who wore an oversized blazer and suit trousers; and Balenciaga’s PR director Robin Meason, who was layered-up in a button-up maxi skirt, oversized t-shirt, and quilted bomber jacket.
Along with its sentimental casting, however, this season marked a historic moment for the fashion house – its first-ever inclusion of curve models on a Balenciaga runway: French pop-star Yseult and fellow curve girl Paloma Elsesser. Marking the occasion, Dazed spoke to Yseult about body diversity within the fashion industry and her change-making Balenciaga runway moment – read about it here.
THE LABEL RELEASED A KNOCK-OFF BAG FOR LIFE
We’ve seen a fair number of weird and wild bags from Balenciaga over the years – from SS17’s copycat IKEA shopping bag to its kitschy Resort 2018 tourist totes, AW22’s literal trash bags, and – a moment we can’t seem to forget from last year – Demna’s strange affinity for repurposing empty Lay’s crisp packets as handbags. Now, the label’s next it-bag for SS24 has officially been unveiled, and – surprise, surprise – it’s another trash-to-treasure accessory: a series of fruit and veg-emblazoned knock-off reusable grocery bags. Printed with piles of strawberries, leafy greens, and mixed berries, the bags bore a striking resemblance to Marks & Spencer’s reusable totes [Bags For Life are chic now, apparently?]. If Balenciaga’s £1,365 IKEA shopper is anything to go by, however, we’re guessing the grocery bags will lose their usual 10p price tag come SS24.
AN ARCHIVAL BALENCIAGA BRIDE CLOSED THINGS OUT
@dazed BFRND closing Balenciaga SS24 💍 #DazedFashionTV #TikTokFashion #ParisFashionWeek #Runway #Balenciaga ♬ original sound - dazed
For a show filled with nods to the label’s team, friends, and biggest moments, it felt only right to close out the runway by paying homage to the label’s past offerings. For the big finale, Demna dove into the Balenciaga archives – crafting an OTT, piled-up wedding gown made from seven wedding dresses from collections before the year 2000. Adding onto the show’s theme of ultra-personal casting, the upcycled dress – which featured a tiered, off-white embroidered bodice, lacy white veil, and long flowing train – was modelled by Demna’s husband BFRND as the Balenciaga bride, himself.