Balenciaga’s Newest Endeavor? A Video Game

Balenciaga’s Newest Endeavor? A Video Game

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Balenciaga’s Newest Endeavor? A Video Game

The house’s Fall 2021 collection debuted with “Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow”

The house’s Fall 2021 collection debuted with “Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow”

Text: Luana Harumi

What kind of world will we have in 10 years? If it is up to Balenciaga, expect concrete buildings, self-driving buses, and plenty of puffer jackets. At least that is what the brand suggests with "Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow,” Demna Gvasalia’s video game that launched on Dec. 6. The futuristic game was specially designed to present Balenciaga’s Fall 2021 collection and provides another glimpse of what fashion shows could look like moving forward.

Accessible from any device and with a straightforward user-friendly interface that should make it uncomplicated to even the least familiar of players, the game is said to be “the largest volumetric video project ever undertaken,” according to Balenciaga’s press release. “Afterworld”’s environments and avatars were designed using the newest technology in photogrammetry. 

Even before the game starts, players can go through a selection of characters, choose-your-avatar style. The journey begins in a boutique, which then leads to a busy street and a dark, dream-like forest where signs point to a secret rave. The final level – or “Zone” – is an orange rock desert where a heroic surprise awaits at the top of a mountain. Across all five Zones, other avatars in the Balenciaga Fall 2021 collection take selfies, check their phones, or simply stand purposefully. 

The Fall 2021 collection expands the Summer 2021 pre-collection, which was showcased in October. Both the game and the collection tackle sustainability, imagining a future in which clothes are not only made to last longer but are also transformed and repurposed over years, or even decades. 

Courtesy of Balenciaga

In Balenciaga’s conceptualized future, garments have multiple functions: a satin trench may double as a party dress, and a blanket is actually a coat or a hooded cape, while a black reversible jacket can be flipped inside out for higher visibility in the case of danger. A parka becomes a duffel bag and an evening gown is made with a reconstructed military coverall. Shirts, dresses, and jeans are layered together to form a single garment. 

Ironing is something of the past – some tailored suits come pre-crinkled, while others are made in stonewashed and pre-stretched t-shirt jersey for extra comfort. Mesh-lined stretch fabric makes performance tailoring perfect for activities such as hiking or cycling. 

Courtesy of Balenciaga

As playful as ever, oversized puffer jackets and sweaters are showered with vintage NASA patches, along with the recently released PlayStation 5 logo and the word “Free.” A mustard t-shirt demands that the wearer be taken to a Balenciaga store if lost, while other prints provide information about circular fashion and breaking off the clothing waste cycle. 

There is also a nod to a distant past, with an elaborate Elizabethan armor suit with silver sequined items. Chevalier boots, pumps, and derby shoes are inspired by 1600s-style armor and made in a lacquered material that is lighter than traditional steel. 

Courtesy of Balenciaga

Footwear also includes the Flip Shoe, a flat flip-flop with a foldable section that attaches between the toes. Technology is a big ally, with the 3D Pump made in durable, fully 3D-printed material, and Fluffy Cat sunglasses covered in sustainable faux fur. Huge alien-shaped anatomic sunglasses also make an appearance. 

You can see the full collection lookbook – with all the characters featured in “Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow” – on Balenciaga’s website

Credits: Photos courtesy of Balenciaga.

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