Balenciaga has been one of the first luxury brands to truly embrace the idea of the Metaverse and virtual reality as our inevitable future, and for Spring/Summer 2022, virtual avatars are presenting the label's collection.
Don't worry, Balenciaga's digital models are nothing like Zuckerberg's Meta avatars – they are digital renders of models Tommy Blue, Eugenie Bondurant, Marie-Agnès Diene, Abdou Diop, Zinedine El Ouazzani, Gwen Lu, Aki Nummela, Anania Orgeas, Hansi Schmidt, Minttu Vesala, and Inti Wang.
Each shot has been created by Paris-based artist Claudia Mate, who works across a handful of formats including interactive 3D, game design, VR, and plenty more. Her aesthetic combines retro influences with our modern-day technology, creating a recognizable approach that defines Balenciaga's SS22 range.
The avatars pictured are really giving something out of The Sims 1, ditching today's hyper-realistic art for something a little more retro. Sadly, none of my characters in The Sims ever wore Balenciaga, so I guess you can't really make a direct comparison.
Signature pieces including the Hourglass Bag, the recently sold-out "Hardcrocs," and the label's wide-shoulder blazers have all been given the low-res digital makeover, without ditching the characteristics that make the pieces uniquely Balenciaga.
As we're all getting used to the idea of dressing up for the Metaverse, knowing that Balenciaga looks just as good on the physical streets as it does in the virtual world is comforting. If I can own a Le Cagole bag, the digital world might not be so daunting after all. Perhaps Demna is ready to get into the world of NFTs, next?
The Spring/Summer 2022 range is now available at select retailers as well as Balenciaga stores online and IRL (thankfully we're not ditching the real clothes just yet!).