Nothing is ever conventional at Balenciaga; especially since Demna took over creative reins. The trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange right at Wall Street, New York City was the site for the Balenciaga spring 2023 runway show.
Even the idea of a parade of models in the house’s now-signature streetwear-leaning designs would have been a typical sight. Demna instead chose to shock. What greeted the audience (seated or huddled together among the trading screens) were model after model wearing latex fetish bodysuits — most completely covering every part of the model save for one’s eyes and mouth, while some featured hair extensions.
It’s not exactly something new that we’ve seen from Demna’s Balenciaga. We’ve seen the artistic director fully swathed Kim Kardashian in black at the 2021 Met Gala. And Demna himself appeared next to her on the red carpet with his face covered.
Perhaps, more than it being an act of criticism against capitalisation — which, to be honest, would be wholly ironic for a fashion house to do so — the bodysuits reflected how fashion should be desired; fetishised even. But aesthetically, they provided the opportunity for the Balenciaga 2023 collection to shine without any distraction. Sort of.
The Balenciaga spring 2023 collection was a triptych of sorts. The first series was what Demna refers to as Garde-Robe. With nary any branding, the focus of the Garde-Robe line was in wardrobe staples, constructed with precise cuts in Balenciaga’s classic silhouettes, and of course, luxurious fabrications. The range covered almost an entire slate of black tailoring, slinky bodycon dresses, denims, blank tracksuits, and more.
It was a studied and calculated approach. A complete line to cater to a client that’s not necessarily into the in-your-face branding but discerning enough to understand fit and cut — something that Balenciaga has always been revered for.
The next is the eveningwear portion consisting of floor-length gowns (again in that Kardashian-famed bodycon fit), even more formal suiting in the form of tuxedoes, and trenches crafted from silk and paired with exaggerated pussy bow blouses. It’s not difficult to see a successful trader hitting a black-tie event in any of the looks in this particular series.
But it’s the final series in the Balenciaga spring 2023 collection that has made headlines. Once again, adidas made an appearance on the runway of a Kering Group-owned fashion house. Following the debut of adidas x Gucci, Balenciaga / adidas was a thorough collaboration featuring signature Balenciaga silhouettes.
As opposed to Gucci’s, the Balenciaga / adidas collaboration felt more cohesive, and made more sense visually. The key motifs alternate between the adidas Trefoil and the three-striped mountain logo, with both featuring ‘Balenciaga’ spelled out in adidas’s lower-case style. They were splashed across everything from oversized T-shirts, socks, puffer robes, hoodies, signature Balenciaga tracksuits and a selection of accessories.
What felt even more exciting were the collaboration’s footwear. The Balenciaga Triple S sneakers received a truly adidas treatment — the three stripes adorned on each side of the sneaker with look 60’s version done in an unmistakably adidas blue. Then there’s also the legging boots that were also seamlessly decorated with the three stripes.
Those interested on getting first dips on the Balenciaga / adidas collection can already do so online, at least until 29 May 2022. Just like on the trading floor, it’s a decision you’d have to make fast in order to score. But for everything else, there’s always the official drop date for Balenciaga’s most brilliantly calculated collection to date.
View the full Balenciaga spring 2023 collection in the gallery below.