One cannot speak about Balenciaga Fall 2022 without first speaking of the runway the collection walked. Initially envisioned as a commentary on climate change, the meaning of the self-contained winter ecosystem swiftly changed to be evocative of the global shock of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine earlier this year. An evocative blend of political commentary and imbued showmanship, it spoke to Demna on multiple levels.
Left: BALENCIAGA jumper, top, jeans and jeans (worn as train). Right: BALENCIAGA towel (worn as dress), top, jeans and bag.
Left: BALENCIAGA jumper, skirt, dress (worn underneath) and jeans (worn as train). Right: BALENCIAGA jumper, jeans, dress (worn underneath) and jeans (worn as train).
Demna’s connection with Ukraine goes deeper than sheer shock, his own life having been touched by the country and the plight many now face as they flee the war torn nation. As a Georgian refugee himself, one of the first places his family sought refuge was in Odessa, a city targeted by unrelenting bombing by Russian forces. Speaking of the show, the designer explained the prescient nature of speaking up about the sheer aberration of the situation through his medium of clothing.
“I went to school in Ukraine. It was always my nightmare of embarrassment to have to stand up and speak poetry in front of people—but now I realised I wanted to do it.”
“Personally, I have sacrificed too much to war. This past week is bringing back all the memories that my mother and I put away in a box, and never looked at. We never got over it.”
Left: BALENCIAGA dress (worn as top), pants, belt and jeans (worn on arms). Right: BALENCIAGA jumper, pants, dress (worn underneath) and jeans (worn as train).
As seen in the pages of the Wonder issue, the Balenciaga Fall 2022 collection was a largely restrained palette, with black, grey, denim and white the dominant colours; the radioactive blue dress seen in the collection is the exception rather than the rule. Stretch dresses, catsuits, turtlenecks and oversized jackets were abundant, styled in the pages as capes, dresses and as headwear in certain setting. A diverse collection, peppered with meaning.
Left: BALENCIAGA dress and skirt. Right: BALENCIAGA bags.
Left: BALENCIAGA top, jeans, briefs and bag. Right: BALENCIAGA jacket, jumper, top and jeans.