We've been watching Balenciaga push the boundaries more and more over the past few years, and I can't help but wonder how far the label could go before it got too weird?
When the Triple S and Speed Runner sneakers initially debuted, plenty of people were calling them strange and ugly, but they quickly became some of the label's most popular items. Since then, Balenciaga has released several collaborations with Crocs, a label that is peak anti-fashion, released grocery-store-inspired bags for hundreds of dollars and continued to experiment with new and unconventional silhouettes and shapes.
Of course, Balenciaga is doing it all on purpose.
Demna and the label know that the weirder they get, the more attention they get, and as a result, more people end up buying into the brand. It is a genius strategy that evidently works, because over this past week the distressed Paris sneaker is everywhere – and Balenciaga didn't even do any marketing.
As a big fan of the label, I've always been interested in the way Demna plays with the unexpected. The designer loves a bit of controversy, and casting celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Justin Bieber is just that – controversial.
They're some of the biggest names in the entertainment world, yet plenty of people were surprised when a luxury house like Balenciaga made them the stars of their campaign. Again, the move was all about creating conversation.
The masterminds behind Balenciaga continue to innovate and push the boundaries, and as long as Demna is at the helm, it will keep evolving, and keep creating new trends.
We're taking a look back at some of Balenciaga's wildest releases from the past few years, ranging from very expensive coats to sculptures. What will be next?
There have been plenty of Croc collaborations, but I do think these take the cake. The stiletto Croc wasn't even too weird for Balenciaga's most loyal fans, because I've already seen plenty of people try them on, and plenty of people actually wear them. Just have a look on TikTok! Balenciaga even managed to make heeled Crocs cool without even really trying.
In all honesty, these aren't even that crazy if you compare them to some of Balenciaga's other releases, but its exaggerated sole is reminiscent of the tire of a car, merged with shape-ups and sized up by three sizes. These are actually pretty cool, especially in the cream colorway.
At $1,150 USD, the toolbox bag is actually one of Balenciaga's more affordable accessories, and in fact, its pretty handy if you're someone who tends to drop their stuff all the time. The clutch fits a phone, cardholder, and perhaps a lipstick or two, but I, unfortunately, don't think you'll be able to fit any actual tools in it.
Priced at $350 USD, Balenciaga's windbreaker keychain became the talk of the town. The jacket was pretty much the it-item from the label at the time, so it only made sense that all the hype kids on Instagram would want to carry the piece with them at all times, I guess.
Track 2.0 Sculpture
Balenciaga turned its sporty Track sneaker into a piece of art, retailing at $5,750 USD. The sculpture is made with 16 individual pieces that have been put together to create the final work, and it is a true collectors items for (rich) Balenciaga fans all over the world.
Two pants in one for just below $2,000 USD? A steal if you ask me! The label dropped these distressed denim trousers which featured Balenciaga's signature track pants stitched underneath. These were of course made fun of all over Instagram and Twitter as one of Balenciaga's most "WTF" items, but there's no doubt plenty of people still bought them.
I just know my morning coffee would hit different from this cup, despite its $88 USD price tag. I can't even call this silly because I would buy this, and anything below $100 USD is practically a steal from Balenciaga. If you see me sipping coffee out of one of these, mind your business.
Balenciaga's anti-fashion approach brought these cargo/jeans hybrid into our lives, and we're still confused about what sparked this idea. But, the trousers aren't even close to being one of Balenciaga's most controversial items, in fact, these are pretty normal in comparison.
I don't know what it is but every single time I see these shoes I know that if I ever wore them, my intrusive thoughts would tell me to use the heels as springboards at all times. These may be a little crazy, but if you're short like me, they're actually pretty genius.
Vibram 5-toe Heels
Fall/Winter 2020 brought out Balenciaga's perhaps strangest item: the 5-toe Vibram heels. Arriving with a sock-like upper and a durable Vibram sole, as well as a structured heel, the shoes feel like some kind of fever dream.
I always wanted to own a pair, because it doesn't get much more anti-fashion than these bad boys.
Hooded Travel Pillow
Okay I'll admit that I didn't know this existed until my research brought me here, but wow this is actually genius. I would absolutely use this, I won't even lie about it. Sadly, it is priced at $650 USD, which would probably get me at least a return ticket somewhere nice, so I'll sacrifice my comfort for now.
Very Big Jackets
Spring/Summer 2020 made us raise our shoulders – literally. Down the runway came very, very big jackets with exaggerated shoulders that depict every bit of tension I've ever felt in my upper body. The XXL jackets quickly spread like wildfire all over the internet, and created yet another Balenciaga success.
$8,000 USD Layered Jacket
The layered jacket debuted as part of the label's Fall/Winter 2018, and was an extension of the layered aesthetic of the now-iconic Triple-S sneaker. The jacket sparked plenty of memes and controversy online, and is the perfect example of Balenciaga's extreme approach.
The $2,000 USD Shopping Bag
Ah yes, the $2,000 dollar shopping bag! What a time! The bag was called stupid all over the internet because it was "just a leather version of its regular paper bag," but it wasn't so stupid when I ended up seeing plenty of people around the city wearing different iterations of a bag. Basically, Balenciaga proved that its fans will buy anything with a logo on it – especially if it means you can keep flexing your Balenciaga shopping bag on the gram.
The First Balenciaga Crocs
Spring/Summer 2018 brought the label's first-ever Crocs, featuring a chunky platform and plenty of decorations. They were the catalyst of Crocs slowly becoming a fashion item, and we've since seen Balenciaga interpret Crocs in plenty of different ways.
Le Cagole Boot Bag
What do you get when you cross Balenciaga's Le Cagole boots with a tote bag? This boot bag, that is releasing for Fall/Winter 2022, of course! This one is definitely really weird, but I already know that we'll be seeing this all over Instagram post-summer, and one will without a doubt end up on my wish list.
Hello Kitty Bag
I don't care what anyone says, the Hello Kitty x Balenciaga collaboration was the moment. It truly deserved more praise, but all it got was just laughs on the internet. Sigh!