Bills, Bills, Bills, at Balenciaga Spring 2023

Shown at the New York Stock Exchange, the daring collection featured brand signatures and a buzzy Adidas collaboration

Balenciaga Creative Director Demna Gvasalia isn’t one to shy away from a spectacle. Two seasons ago, the Georgian designer staged a faux red carpet in place of a traditional runway show in the heart of Paris. Last season, amidst the Russian invasion of Ukraine, models braved a snowstorm as guests looked on through clear plexiglass.

And when it was announced the brand would be showcasing its Spring 2023 collection in New York City, industry insiders were waiting with baited breath for the creative’s next move. Soon, guests were greeted with faux money stacks that doubled as invitations. In true Gavasalia fashion, the unconventional invites included the show’s location—the wholly unfashionable New York Stock Exchange—and was treated with a distinct smell that mirrors the scent of actual currency.

As it was a balmy Sunday in NYC, the NYSE’s typical stock brokers and investors were replaced with industry insiders, friends of the brand, and a handful of big-shot celebrities like Pharell, Chlöe Sevigny, and Megan Thee Stallion. On the floor of the daunting building, stocks like Disney, Visa, and yes, Twitter, glitched on the big screens.

The nearly all black collection was packed full of Gvasalia signatures: strong-shouldered suiting, chunky footwear, utilitarian trenches. Too, models sported latex face coverings that only exposed silvers of the eyes and mouth, furthering the cutting-edge ethos of the collection. Satin pussybow blouses were mainstays throughout the collection, while leather and sequins were relayed on slinky floor-length dresses, knee-length skirts, and overcoats.

Adding a cherry on top to the already buzzy collection, Gvasalia unveiled a range of accessories and outerwear designed in collaboration with Adidas. The brand’s iconic sportswear trefoil was reimagined on boxy t-shirts, oversized duffle bags, and of course, tracksuits. Too, the collaboration marked the collection’s departure from an all black colorway, as pops of bright yellow, deep blue, and red were seen on the sportswear-inspired pieces.

What sets Gvasalia apart is both his trademark, baggy silhouettes and an innate ability to respond to the world around him: celebrity culture, the refugee crisis, and the volatility of the international market. And coupled with a taste for shock, fans of the brand are left wondering where the boundary-pushing creative will take Balenciaga next.

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