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Balenciaga to debut AW21 via a video game

By Don-Alvin Adegeest


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Balenciaga is set to reveal next season’s collection via a video game. On December 6 the Kering group brand will unveil the autumn 2021 collection through a futuristic video game set in 2031. Called ‘Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow’, the idea to focus on ‘pixels’ comes as Creative Director Demna Gvasalia looks at innovative ways to showcase collections outside of traditional catwalk presentations. In October Balenciaga unveiled its SS21 collection through a music video.

“A theme of Balenciaga fall 2021 is human destiny, as seen by an interactive, gamified journey,” reported WWD. “The world may appear to be decaying at first, but it is far from a dystopian view, showing instead the slow return to a healthier balance of nature and industry.”

“A real-life breathing exercise set in a virtual utopia. In the end, the hero has finally become (as it is referred to in Hero’s Journey analysis) a ‘Master of Two Worlds’,” Balenciaga said, apparently alluding to studies of archetypal heroes by the late American academic Joseph Campbell.

In January 2021 Balenciaga was to return to its couture heritage after a 52-year hiatus with the last collection shown by the Mainson’s founder, Cristóbal Balenciaga. Due to Covid-19 the the show has been delayed until July 2021, with just one haute couture presentation per year.

A new season calendar

While much of the fashion industry has been talking of paring down global fashion weeks and changing the calendar to a more manageable season, Balenciaga has firmly chartered its own path in unveiling its collections. The Paris-based company confirmed it will show pre-collections during fashion weeks in September and March and mainline collections in December and June.

A similar change of strategy has been adopted at other Kering-owned brands including Gucci and Saint Laurent. Gvasalia’s words reflect the departure from the “tired ritual of seasonality” reiterated by Alessandro Michele who has just finished Gucci Fest, a week long online-only event with a 7 part miniseries directed by Gus Van Sant.

Its a video game world

Fashion brands have long been drawn to the gamification phenomenon and seeing it as a channel with potential revenue and reaching new audiences. Companies like Valentino and Marc Jacobs previously embraced the world of online gaming by creating garments to dress characters of Nintendo’s Animal Crossing video game.

Florentine retailer LuisaViaRoma recently announced the launch of its Mod4 project, an interactive game-app that allows users to create a personalised avatar and make fashion challenges with other users. Last October, Gucci revealed a partnership with Drest, an interactive fashion styling app that challenges its users to create ad hoc looks, accumulating credits for the use of garments of famous brands. On the high street Uniqlo recently partnered Pokémon Go.

Image via Balenciaga

Demna Gvasalia