Forget curating the perfect front Row, Demna wanted to curate the perfect cast of friends, family, and creatives to represent Balenciaga on his runway today. The woman who the creative director chose to kick-off proceedings appeared as a no-brainer, it was his mother Ella, and as the cast notes revealed for summer 2024 a veritable array of cultural tastemakers in their various fields delighted the audience as they appeared in tandem. From critics (Cathy Horyn, The Cut’s fashion critic-at-large) to fashion historians, influencers, artists, professors and muses, Demna even managed to rope in his Global Director of PR, Robin, to walk the show.
But who’s wearing a collection is not going to be the only driving factor considered when deciding to own one of these pieces, and while the conversation around the cast will certainly generate column inches, there seemed to be few new ideas to grasp onto. As the deconstructed trenchcoat, pleated floral dresses, casual hoodies, sharp-shouldered tailoring, and uber-large pants were all present and correct, and will still be available at retail for the brands legions of youthful fans to snap up. But in keeping with the status quo, during a season when everyone else is looking to return to basic, simplified silhouettes, an opportunity was missed to mix things up. What appeared as the early stages of a new direction was a small section of dresses with a glossy wet-look effect as if it had been poured onto the models, the black iteration was photographed on Kim Kardashian for the lookbook, which also makes perfect sense as a move on from her penchant for the brands range of spandex.
In the same way that JW Anderson at Loewe, and for his own namesake label, likes to push and pull the conventions of ‘Everyday Norm’ Demna’s Balenciaga has moulded itself into the bastions of basic, where familiar items that make up the daily wardrobe of the average human are exploded in proportion or deconstructed in construction, so as to make them almost unrecognisable, and despite several designers backing the basic mantra this season, both Demna and Anderson are two of the very few who are actually doing it with conviction.
The sock boot is also getting a revival, in a more organic, less sharp update, and whether the shoes being held by a number of the models in today’s show will ever make it into bag form is anyone’s guess, as they were either a prop or just a play on symbolism.
THE BUZZWORDS Always for the everyday. Cast of characters. Proportions still in play.
Look # 60 The wet look dress looks as if its dripping off the body, another great technique perfected by Demna and explored for summer 2024.
THE ON-BRAND FACTOR
THE BRAND EVOLUTION
Curating an incluisve cast of house friends who offer a fully representative vision of the Balenciaga customer.
The addition of a few new silhouettes or an updated palette would have gone some way to facilitate the brands evolution.
THE WRAP UP
With several nods to travel in the collection (passport accessories and suitcases softened so they could be carried as shoulder bags), Demna is intent on taking us on a journey, his journey, but the destination it seems – despite a reference to Geneva on a faux flight ticket – is still unknown when it comes to brand evolution.