Paris Fashion Week 2022: Balenciaga is in the lead

D.the invitations say it all. For the Loewe show, the bellhops on mopeds bring red anthurium flowers to the hotels of the fashion newsrooms. The bright flamingo flower with the large umbels is the background. For spring-summer 2023, the brand, which belongs to the LVMH group, sees anthurium on dresses, bras, shoe decorations and metal armor covered with ceramic paint. “A natural product that looks like a design object and is treated as such”: the description of Loewe designer Jonathan Anderson gives only a nuanced idea of ​​how a collection can flourish with the shapes and colors of nature.

Alfonso Kaiser

Editor in charge of the “Germany and the world” department and of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Magazin.

Ready-to-wear week could be described by the invitations, so you shouldn’t even drive to the shows, some of which take place far from the city center. The self-image is revealed in the card, which is placed in an envelope addressed by the calligraphers. Chanel: big and powerful. Givenchy: black and cool. MiuMiu: transparent and oscillating. Hermès: minimalist and warm. Isabel Marant: Exactly, the dates are on a meter.

An antithesis to refined luxury?

But all this is nothing compared to Balenciaga. Demna, who has no surname as a designer, has an old dirty leather bag sent as an invitation. Inside, credit cards, customer cards, the receipt of the “Marché Vegan” (111.75 euros), 150 old French francs and an identity card: Natalia Antunes, born on 2 October 1955, French, lives in Paris, high 1.70 meters. An object found as an entrance ticket. And a clue to a biographical mission? Who is Natalia Antunes? Natalia: most likely an Eastern European. Antunes: most likely Portuguese.

Already wrong thinking. “I hate boxes and I hate labels and I hate being labeled and put in a box,” writes Demna in her “show notes”. The designer, originally from Georgia, raised in Germany, lives in Zurich and works in Paris, doesn’t want to be pigeonholed. You can guess it: the huge Balenciaga room is lined with stinking mud. After the show he will say that this is “the antithesis of refined luxury”, a critique of the sterile system. He runs the system himself, with logo caps for 350 euros and garbage bags for 1400 euros: the Demna paradox of the capitalist critic of capitalism.

Flowery: lion

series of images

Paris Fashion Week 2022

Paris Fashion Week 2022

Walking on dirty water, led by Kanye West, sad, angry, broken, hopeless characters: homeless metaphysics on the catwalk. The existential impact of Balenciaga fashion was felt for the first time on March 6, in the autumn-winter show, in which the figures of refugees battled desperately against a winter storm. Less than two weeks after the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, that was a clear signal to the exhausted clientele in the front row. Many guests have cried. The shaking models were wrapped in emergency blankets backstage. As a native Georgian, Demna knows the Russian attackers.

“For me it was a logical follow-up”, says the designer backstage. “Why what happens when the snow melts?” So for the spring and summer 2023 there will be only 275 cubic meters of mud from a bog – inspired by Santiago Sierra, who in 2013 filled the Kestner Society in Hanover with mud: “His installations are So the black-brown mass adheres to the walls and outlines a huge dark cavity in the middle, which resembles a mass grave. Is that Balenciaga? Only the bag, which looks like a muff, was a reference to Cristóbal Balenciaga, says Demna. “It was mostly a personal show.” Allows your own opinion; being arguably the most influential designer in the world, he can afford it.

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