For Balenciaga’s creative director Demna Gvasalia, this year has been all about firsts. Between designing a virtual dystopian gamer-verse for the Fall/Winter 2021 collection and wiping the Balenciaga Instagram clean ahead of his couture debut, it’s clear that he’s making way for the storied maison’s next chapter. Now, after releasing a new Runner sneaker, the brand has found an unlikely campaign star in Justin Bieber—and the result is as good as we expected.
Dripped down in an oversized leather bomber with a hoodie and tapered sweatpants, Bieber stars alongside a host of tastemakers including French actress Isabelle Huppert, Awar Adhiero Odhiang, Anania Orgeas, Isabelle Weldon Herouard, Minttu Vesala, Litay Marcus, Angel aka Emmanuel Culkin Mugisha, Abdou Diop, Taishi Suzuki, Hans Schmidt, and Eliza Douglas.
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Each look in the campaign features core styles that have been carried over from seasons past and remained essential to the brand’s DNA: think billowy silhouettes, elevated athleisure with exaggerated proportions, and cult accessories that are just as relevant today. Shot by photographer and filmmaker Katy Grannan in an empty L.A. parking garage, the spread shows Bieber decked out in an outfit that’s quintessentially Balenciaga, dad sneakers and all. The “Peaches”singer also carried the brand’s signature matte-black City tote in hand.
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Straying from digitized models and catwalk fixtures and opting for a household name instead, Balenciaga is consistently finding new ways to re-establish its brand identity, and this new campaign further proves it.
This article first appeared in Harper’s BAZAAR US