Balenciaga continues to shake up the fashion week format, taking Paris by storm with a witty red carpet cum catwalk reversal for SS22 and special screening of a Simpsons episode written exclusively by Matt Groening for the Maison.
Creative director Demna Gvasalia has taken giants leaps forward since the starry haute couture debut in July, with fashion’s elite all ears to his questioning, commenting and challenging how the industry operates, presents and defines luxury.
First the red carpet presentation: in a reversal of general proceedings, where buyers, press and front row guests are photographed arriving to attend a show, Gvasalia switched the format, with models and celebrities posing on a faux red carpet dressed in Spring Summer 2022, before entering the venue. “I wanted to do a premierre concept where the guests would be the show for many seasons,” the show notes said.
Livestreamed on screen with looks numbered, the arrivals saw the camera pan to reveal a host of familiar faces: Naomi Campbell, Cardi B, Isabelle Huppert, Elliot Page and photographer Juergen Teller, the latter both modelling and shooting the paparazzi photographers, emphasising the ‘total recall’ of fashion and spectacle, much to the enjoyment of the guests inside Paris’ Théatre du Châtelet. The camera then zoomed onto the clothes, footwear and accessories.
The first look was an oversized black gown, one giant ball of chiffon pouffe, perfectly setting the tone for Gvasalia’s red carpet spoof. In fact most looks were head to toe black, making the red backdrop even more striking against the oversize tailoring, bodysuits and high-end streetwear. Gvasalia himself emulated his Kim Kardashian Met Ball outfit, taking a bow with his face covered in a veil and black hoodie.
Special screening of The Simpsons / Balenciaga
The unexpected pièce de resistance was the red carpet doubling as the premiere for The Simpsons collaboration, a brilliant episode where Homer sees Marge has been fantasising about a Balenciaga gown in a magazine, which tries to order for her birthday but can’t afford to keep. The story ends up with the entire Simpson gang on the Paris runway walking the Balenciaga show.
Fashiontainment has become an entirely new genre this season, thanks in part to Balenciaga and other brands challenging the fashion show norm. The Simpsons is the latest in a progression of activations that push certain boundaries set up between fashion and other forms of entertainment, culture and technology, shifting the Balenciaga away from an easily definable category.
The models and guests are part of an automatic performance wherein the premiere event becomes the show itself. Red-carpet arrivals are documented, setting up a series of role reversals like in The Simpsons I Balenciaga where the audience becomes the protagonists and vice-versa. The spectacle was a genius move for a house that no so long ago was mostly revered for its sneakers.
The full collection and episode of the The Simpsons can be viewed at Balenciaga.com