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Money is ‘the world’s biggest fetish’, said the designer as he showcased his ability to bring provocation to commercial product with a show at the New York Stock Exchange. Balenciaga’s SS23 collection returned to Demna’s origins with the tailoring of the Garde-Robe line and demonstrated the suffocation of capitalism with a collaboration with adidas.
Under Demna‘s iconoclastic and mononymous creative direction, Balenciaga’s latest presentations and collections of late have leaned towards a sense of excessive dystopia, uniquely combining luxury with current events. This time, the designer wanted to present the SS23 range in an iconic location in the city that never sleeps, and what better place than the New York Stock Exchange, the pinnacle of extreme capitalism.
The show was divided into two parts, the first half presenting the perfect uniform for work and the second a streetwear collaboration with adidas. Demna opted for a new line, composed of draped blouses, elegantly cut trench coats and pleated dresses in neutral tones. The second part was the collab with the sports brand: “I always wanted to wear the three stripes and the logo”. However, the models stood out because they were covered in black latex.
Although the first part features a new line called Garde-Robe by Balenciaga with more subtle silhouettes than we’re used to, the designer says this represents his origins with the brand. “I would say [these] are classic and exclusive garments, as opposed to our usual seasonal fashion that we do and that’s where I come from.” However, she didn’t lose her provocative side and showed it through the XXXXL shoes and heels.
Instead of recontextualising a whole new line of products for adidas, Balenciaga put his logo on T-shirts and sweatshirts, proving that the suffocation of capitalism knows no bounds. “When I was seven years old I had an adidas tracksuit; that was my biggest fashion moment as a kid, so it’s linked to my personal history.” The latex masks that accompanied the collaboration helped to justify the desire for luxury as a fetish.
In this way, the designer generates a connection between money and fashion as the ultimate fetish, thus placing himself at the pinnacle of capitalism and incorporating the latex of BDSM as a representative element of submission as well as power. “Everyone gets on the bus or the fashion wagon and starts to look the same. For me, clothes are a fetish object. That’s why I do it. There was a link between fetish and money, being the biggest fetish in the world.”
During the presentation of this collection, behind the models, the screens of the Stock Exchange lined up to show the logos of Twitter, Disney and Visa as they crackled and flashed. It was as if the stock exchange’s laptops had suffered a malfunction, or perhaps Wall Street had been hacked. Which had been, in this case, by the iconic Demna rather than a group of cyber hackers.