Balenciaga’s SS18 show was as divisive and challenging as fashion crowds have come to expect, and depending on their tolerance for appropriation, “ugly-chic” and social media gimmick gardening shoes, possibly roll their eyes at.
Set in a blacked-out industrial estate with a spotlight following the models to the tune of “Angel” by Massive Attack, Demna Gvasalia’s vision for Balenciaga SS18 featured over 60 looks. Like a fashion Frankenstein, the garments were reworked and re-worn in a way as to subvert the expectations of clothing — wearing a coat as a necklace for example — and plenty of loose and empty sleeves flowing akimbo. As one of the most hyped brands of the moment (partially in thanks to the controversial Triple S sneaker), Balenciaga used this position at the top to explore the irony-rich semiotics of what it means to be fashionable in 2017.
Amidst Union Jack boots and euro-prints shirts, one of the more interesting features of the collection was the aggressive juxtaposition of the styling. Graphic trouser prints borrowed from the imagery of oversaturated ’90s desktop backgrounds (pastoral fields, orange sunsets, etc.) imitating warmth and familiarity before being immediately countered with an aggressively barbed heel. What followed was three-tiered tartan trousers, waxy plastic shirts, newspapers graphics, liberally pocketed denim jeans, and hyperbolic tassels extending way off the bags and down to the floor. Then came the now infamous platform Crocs, with Balenciaga logos, roses and French bulldog pins pushed in for extra kitsch.
Check out all the looks and some reactions from social media below. Is Balenciaga taking it too far?