Season: Spring/Summer 2022
Buy: Online at Balenciaga's website
Editor's Notes: The success of Balenciaga's 2021 Pride collection — a capsule of hoodies and T-shirts emblazoned with "GAY" — tasked the label with a formidable goal: to come up with something even better for round two.
I'd say Demna Gvasalia and co. did a pretty darn good job. This year, Balenciaga dropped "Anybody Is Queer," a range of apparel and accessories that remix the symbols traditionally found on "women's" and "men's" bathrooms.
The symbols, one in a skirt and the other in pants, are merged into one, upending the outdated idea that certain garments are for men and women exclusively. Printed on hoodies, T-shirts, and tank tops, the revamped graphic is accompanied by a chart of LGBTQIA+ flags from around the world.
15 percent of profits from Balenciaga's release will benefit OutRight Action International, an international organization that works to defend and advance human rights for LGBTQIA+ people. Founded in 1990, the group was granted consultive status with the United Nations in 2010 — this means OutRight Action International can attend U.N. meetings and access OSCE records.
While the majority of Pride-themed releases strike as soulless pandering, Balenciaga's take is bolstered by Gvasalia's continued homage to queer culture, from that endlessly iconic Divine-inspired gown to his collaboration with RuPaul Charles.