Following Balenciaga's cryptic show invitations that came as VHS tapes with "The Lost Tapes" handwritten on top, the label has now revealed the anticipated collection.
Looking at "what could have been and never was," the presentation takes inspiration from the '90s, and taps both trends as well as iconic people that defined the era; Naomi Campbell, Isabelle Huppert, Diane Pernet, and Cathy Horyn are only some of the names tapped by Balenciaga for a quick post-show cameo.
The collection itself is predominantly black, playing with some of Balenciaga's signature silhouettes. Tracksuits are contrasted by slip dresses, floor-length robes are paired with tank tops, and the Hourglass jacket has somehow become even more structured. The key takeaway is that crop-tops are in, and they're unisex.
If you're not showing your midriff, then what are you doing? Ideally, your Balenciaga-branded underwear is showing, too.
Plenty of new shoes also appear in the rave-inspired collection, including a square-toed ballerina flat worn as a slipper, and a thigh-high "Excavator" boot that Kanye West will be wearing in no time. This is basically the evolution of the Croc boot that Yeezy is quite fond of.
Of course, futuristic sunglasses can be spotted throughout, as well as new bags such as the Lindsay bag, and the washed-leather Emo bag, which sports fetish straps, plenty of hardware. It is a combination of youthful grunge and timeless tailoring, and feels just right.
"It recalls a time when clothing that was alive with raw ideas—anti-fashion, deconstruction, and monochromatic minimalism—could be found anywhere from an industry spectacle to the active underground," Balenciaga explains.
For those unfamiliar, "The Lost Tapes" is a collection symbolic of Balenciaga's forgotten years. It looks to the past, but also hints to our future.
This year, the label has been entering the digital world through Fortnite, collaborated (or "hacked") with Gucci, and hinted at plans to join the Metaverse, creating an ever-growing Balenciaga universe that shows no signs of slowing down. This also means taking responsibility when it comes to production, which is why the Fall/Winter 2022 season has been crafted with 89.6% certified sustainable ready-to-wear fabrics, in addition to upcycled leather in both accessories as well as in the garments.
For now, Balenciaga is still making physical clothes and we couldn't be happier, because this is just the rave-inspired dystopian collection we need as we enter 2022.