On the day of the show right before we entered it started to pour, maybe the gods knew what was about to come down the runway.  The BALENCIAGA WINTER 2020 Paris Fashion week show looked like a rework of the Missy Elliot video I can't stand the rain. 

The luxury label is best known for streetwear couture these days delivered commentary clothing to get us through a day which in the morning with spring-like weather to a night in the winter.  Was the designer addressing climate change and a menacing, mostly-black assortment for the cold-weather season, remixing house signatures and adventurous new items alike?

 Ode to Missy Elliot

Creative director Demna Gvasalia's latest designs walked down a flooded runway while LED graphics on the ceiling mimicked rain, fire and thunder. The dramatic staging also left Balenciaga's first three rows completely empty, meaning showgoers were detached from the presentation. This move aimed to highlight the menace of climate change.  Or was everyone at church or hiding out from the alleged virus taking of cities around the world?


Balenciaga Winter 20 recontextualizes the structures inherently associated with desire, inverting the values of specific dress codes. The austerity of clerical garb and court robes are interpreted for casual wear. Classical traditions, hardcore aesthetics, and fetishized details are combined and rearranged, mixing business with pleasure. 

Neo-gothic dressing looks back and forward at the possibilities of menswear, layering floor-length skirts and caped coats. Bodybuilder "made-to-measure" fits create oversized, anabolic suits for anyone. Sport, religion, obsession, and seduction are stripped of their functions, leaving only the sensation of a fashion object: extravagant, dramatic, erotic, or menacing. 

The techniques and materials used to make motocross, hockey, or scuba suits inform outfits for every day, softening the hard constructs of protective gear. At the same time, the softness of nightgown-like prints and fabrics are pumped up in powerful proportions, quilted, pleated, and layered with jacquard messages. 

The fictional Balenciaga Football Club places the obsessive quality of team sports in another fanatical context. Evening streetwear presents minimal, elegant shapes from a patchwork of athletic textures. A modern take on waist-training, stretch materials are thermoformed to create an illusory cinch, eliminating the infrastructure of rigid corsetry. 

Gala dresses are all-inclusive: shoes, gloves, leggings, and gowns in one piece. Bodywear becomes a second skin, at once obscuring and revealing. A collaboration with Vibram, the Toe and High Toe shoes twist and elevate an ergonomic innovation. Leather thigh high Texan rainboots provide another option for menswear silhouettes, while the Knife shoe reworks elements of lacey lingerie for the feet. 

We will definitely see these garments in a rap video. It is so hip hop. Rythem, art and poetry on the runway. Speaks to the culture and how they have been dressing since the birth of RAP.  The brand also iis also inclusive showing us that all ages wear BALENCIAGA.

Mar 19, 2020

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