Demna Gvasalia’s latest collection for Balenciaga is an exploration of what’s real and what isn’t. Throughout the show, the face of Gvasalia’s muse Eliza Douglas was transplanted, using deepfake technology, onto every model; the audience on each side of the runway was similarly manipulated in the resulting fashion film. The collection itself also plays up the idea of repetition—reiterating all the signatures that Gvasalia has established in his six years at the House, from the supersized shoulders to the couture parkas. But the most internet-breaking moment in the show came from the mutual “hacking” game that Gvasalia has been playing with Alessandro Michele at Gucci, where both creative directors take signifiers heavily associated with their respective brands and turned them on their heads. This time around, Gvasalia took iconic Gucci bag shapes as well as its monogram and red-green webbing, and plastered them all with Balenciaga’s BB logo. It was a stroke of marketing and merchandising brilliance as well as a witty commentary on ownership and originality—a riposte, if you will, to the armchair fashion critics who have made it a (bloodthirsty) sport of who copied whom. Gvasalia and Michele might not have answered that question, but in this case, everybody wins. 

The Hacker Shoulder Zip bag is $1,550 and is available at Balenciaga, #01-01 Paragon (tel: 6732 0207). 

Photographed by Wee Khim
Styled by Gracia Phang

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