The Beauty of Resistance in Balenciaga Fall/Winter 2022
The brand unpacks the war in Ukraine and the effects of climate change, touting dedicated resistance amongst the fanfare of cursory lip service seen throughout the last week.
Guests invited to Balenciaga Fall/Winter 2022 watched were greeted with t-shirts in the colors of Ukraine, with a personal note card from Demna. A “forever refugee,” the designer and his family fled from Georgia in the middle of the country’s conflict in 1993, declaring that the war in Ukraine had manifested the past trauma, “the fear, the desperation, the realization that no one wants you.”
Seeing the horrors that are being inflicted upon civilians who continue to reside in Ukraine or escape triggered the want to cancel the show, writing, “Because, at a time like this, fashion loses its relevance and its actual right to exist.” Like many of his contemporaries, continuing through Fashion Week during this period seems futile, a vain distraction as we witness Ukrainians lose their homes and struggle to advocate for their sovereignty. However, through fashion, resistance was a more worthy dedication to Ukraine and victims of war who are forever displaced for Demna.
Titled 360°, guests sat in a grand exhibition hall opposite large paneled windows, acting as voyeurs to the snow-covered simulation. The virtual effects of the simulation were a confrontation, a time of predictable seasons that Demna describes as now a “nostalgia.”
Acting as figures in a snow globe, models walked around the sphere’s interior, trudging through snow, stiff through the experience of cold temperament and agonizing wind. They lugged with bags in hand, some garbage bag-like pouches. At times, giant Hourglass handbags – pointing to a reality that we are currently seeing and have been witnessing for nearly the last ten years with the refugee crises seen throughout Africa and the Middle East.
Wrapped in only towels and underwear, or only just logo-covered packing tape (as seen on Kim Kardashian), Demna highlighted the force of the conditions of taking refuge. The guest list included Alexa Demie, Sevdaliza, and Lil Baby. For many others, viewing this reality may have been an all too familiar history of being victims of forced movement.
Hulking fur coats, oversized hoodies, and double-breasted suit jackets protected the blowing wind. Asymmetric dresses and catsuits allowed for more struggle when paired with heeled boots—dark beauty through the storm. With booming electronic music pounding through the hall, the finale culminated with one last dedication to Ukraine, a yellow tracksuit that was overwhelmed by the wind as the model trudged through the snow, and a bright blue dress, with a train that continued to flow easily without surrender.