The models on Balenciaga’s runway pushed against fake wind and snow inside the venue, which initially was conceived to point out that we’re slowly eradicating so many natural elements from the planet (or, perhaps, angering them). But the commentary climate change apparently morphed into something much more personal for Balenciaga’s designer, Demna, for whom the war and refugee crisis in Ukraine hits home:
Guests arriving at the giant exhibition hall on the fringes of Paris discovered oversized T-shirts the colors of the Ukrainian flag on every seat, and a note card from Demna, whose family fled the civil war in Georgia in 1993. “And I became a forever refugee,” he declared. Current headlines “triggered the pain” of that past trauma, making fashion week seem such an “absurdity” that he seriously considered calling the show off.
“But then I realized that canceling this show would mean giving in, surrendering to the evil that has already hurt me so much for almost 30 years. I decided that I can no longer sacrifice parts of me to that senseless, heartless war of ego,” he wrote, dedicating the display to “fearlessness, to resistance, and to the victory of love and peace.”
He lost me a little bit when he said the models’ bracing slog on the runway could evoke what the Ukrainians are enduring now — it is very difficult to draw sensitive parallels between a fashion show and a country under siege, even though I understand that he was trying to give voice to specific memories of his own. It’s definitely weird to imagine all this roiling in his head as he simultaneously spent half an hour helping wrap Kim Kardashian in branded caution tape. But, people contain multitudes.
I don’t have a ton to say about the clothes, other than that Kim will wear whatever catsuits she can, and SOMEBODY will pick up the last dress, especially as it’s in a Ukraine-esque blue. Mostly, the visuals remind me of parts of Station Eleven and maybe The Day After Tomorrow. So while most of me thinks, “This does not speak to me,” there is a tiny paranoid part that understands that the climate apocalypse IS coming, and when it does I’m not gonna be that picky about what I wear to get through it.