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Balenciaga unveils collaboration with Adidas on the New York Stock Exchange

By Ole Spötter


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Image: Pixabay | Logo image: Adidas & Balenciaga | Editing: FashionUnited

Balenciaga has gone public in New York and showed its spring collection for 2023 on Sunday between screens with flickering share prices. The fashion house also has the German sports giant Adidas in its baggage, which is currently very popular for luxury collaborations, and here, at the most recent, the boundaries between the fashion hypes and the stock exchange become blurred. Logomania and sportswear meet business looks with a touch of latex - fitting into the style of designer Demna Gvasalia.

Share prices flicker across the screens, the audience sits in between and conversations mingle - a hustle and bustle like a normal day at the stock exchange, except that the monitors are the only source of light. A chime, like the signal for the start of the trading day, interrupts the hustle and bustle and introduces the show.

A dark secret

Dark techno music blares over the speakers and the first model walks through the rows with a firm step. A black latex mask shines in the spotlight and stands out from the black look. A look that consists of an ankle-length coat with flared shoulders is completed by dark sunglasses, a large neck scarf and stiff latex gloves.

The latex mask runs throughout the collection. This anonymisation has been part of Balenciaga looks before, as seen in its SS22 collection and the joint collection with Yeezy Gap. So far, the label’s masks and one-piece suits have been in a restrained cotton fabric. With the latex version, which leaves the eye and mouth areas free and is supplemented with braids – reminiscent of whips – a sado-masochism aesthetic is created.

This subversive aesthetic is juxtaposed with a classic style of suits and dresses. Together they resonate with a sense of dark mystery – like a businessman who works on the stock market by day and lives out his fantasies by night.

In between the business outfits, with models holding briefcases and coffee-to-go mugs, there are also some more cheerful looks and even some colour comes into play. The face covering is not missing here either, however, and is integrated into a tight-fitting glitter dress. Colourful accents in the otherwise sombre collections are displayed in dark blues and greens for coats, as well as white blouses and a summery, polka-dotted dress.

Video: Balenciaga via YouTube

Adidas x Balenciaga: Logomania with consumer criticism

Things get much more colourful in the second part of the collection, which presents the collaboration with Adidas.

The Balenciaga designer draws from the sportswear company's archive and finds his inspiration in the late 90s and 2000s. The Adidas logo and the iconic 'Three Stripes' are placed large on various pieces and combined with the Balenciaga lettering. Extra large tracksuits, football jerseys, wide coats, shoes and also a range of accessories – such as socks, earrings and bags – are also embedded in the logomania.

The many stock screens depicting emblems of Disney, Twitter and Coca Cola create a sensory overload of brands and companies with the collection's logos. This gives the collection a satirical component that takes aim at the logomania trend of recent years.

Gvasalia is known for his edgy concepts, criticising consumer society and the luxury industry. Recently, Balenciaga unveiled a controversial new sneaker, with its worn look selling for 1450 euros.

Trendy collaboration or crash in popularity ratings?

The collaboration with Adidas also brings some criticism and ill will. Under Adidas Originals' Instagram post announcing the collaboration, negative comments reading "Real bullshit", "Bored already. Lazy designs" or linking to Gucci's Instagram account as a form of criticism over the repeated collaboration with a major fashion house. The Italian fashion house, which like Balenciaga, belongs to the luxury goods group Kering, already presented a collaboration with Adidas in February. On Balenciaga's post about the collection, however, the comments were rather positive.

Fashion journalist Philippe Pourhashemi dedicated his own critical post to the collection on his Instagram profile ‘fashionist76’, criticising the designs as being "without meaning or depth". He said in the post that he could not imagine a worse design than a baggy tracksuit and finds the use of latex materials "ridiculous" when compared to collections by designers such as Walter van Beirendonck and Jean Paul Gaultier – who are known for this style.

Whether this criticism from experts and consumers is justified is a matter of opinion. What is clear is that Gvasalia has once again managed to make his collection the number one topic of conversation.

The collaboration with Adidas is already available for pre-order in the online shop. Price-wise, the collection starts with socks for 210 US dollars. The most expensive item is a leather jacket with hood for 5500 US dollars. Pre-order is possible until 29 May.

Image: Screenshot Balenciaga.com

This article originally appeared on FashionUnited.DE. Translation and edit by: Rachel Douglass.