It's a good time to be a heap of trash. Demna has been rummaging through our bins again, searching for the next piece of detritus to elevate to cult status. In the past, he's latched onto soiled sneakers, conjuring up the contentious Paris Trainer, and has rebranded the humble Croc from certified dork to subversive cool kid. But who could have guessed that the latest object to catch his attention would be but an empty packet of Lay's chips? – salted of course.
While attending the annual graduate fashion show for Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts, the Balenciaga Creative Director could be seen clutching the aforementioned crisp packet, though not as one would while waiting to spot a rubbish bin but rather as if it was a Le Cagole mini. Naturally, the all-seeing eye of TikTok captured this display in a video that went viral.
@enfntsterribles We went to the graduation show of the #Antwerp #Fashion Department and we saw @Balenciaga’s #Demna ♬ original sound - Troye Sivan
Commenters were torn, one writing "At this point Balenciaga have [sic] just decided to see how much that can mock the people who buy from them," while another praised Demna saying, "he could do anything, he is the troll of the fashion people and he knows it and I applaud it". Whereas another commenter had a completely different take, linking Demna's display to a video where a "Ukrainian Soldier casually eats chips as missiles [are] fired behind" and suggesting that this could be a show of support for Ukraine.
Thanks to designers like Demna and the late Virgil Abloh, fashion has been in its post-irony era for some time now. Outrageous styles have been reimagined; injected with meta commentary about consumerism (insert art school thesis here) and presented to the fashion set to gobble up on cue in a kind-of tongue-in-cheek mockery. Although, what's different here is that the Creative Director isn't even trying to re-contextualise a greasy chip packet under the guise of luxury fashion. It's not made from calf-leather and there's no elevation through craft. It's just...trash? Are we taking this too seriously? Quite possibly. Perhaps Demna was just hungry.
While admittedly, we're here for ugly fashion and absurdism, we can feel the hangover seeping in. The famine of beauty continues.