Balenciaga Haute Couture 2022

Its Balenciaga’s world we are living in

Balenciaga Haute Couture 2022
Yaseen Dockrat

Since taking over at Balenciaga, Demna Gvasalia has pushed forth his subversive take on luxury, which has seen the house become a globally dominant force. The Georgian designer returned the label to the haute couture calendar last year for the first time in 53 years. Yesterday’s show in Paris, the star-studded cast and front row, was proof that Balenciaga reigns supreme if anyone was ever in doubt.

As AI voiced Demna’s love poem, models covered in black neoprene faces covered with hi-tech reflective masks descended the runway, walking purposefully with toolbox handbags in hand. It was dystopian, and it was intrinsically Demna’s Balenciaga.

More luxurious materials soon replaced neoprene. Models still wearing the headwear came forth in crystalized creations, beaded pantsuits, and cocktail dresses fully encrusted with gemstones. Hoodies, sweatshirts, worn-out denim, and parkas crafted from upcycled pieces were thrown into the mix. Menswear-inspired oversized pieces were followed by trench coats created from leopard print fur, distressed silk, and leather. Juxtaposing these luxurious, jewel-encrusted pieces, Gvasalia returned to his haute couture streetwear.

The show then entered the pinnacle moment, revealing Balenciaga’s star power. Christine Quinn appeared in a silver sequin mini dress that boasted an eight-foot train. Dua Lipa followed in a yellow mini, Bella Hadid wrapped in emerald silk, Kim Kardashian in skin-hugging satin, Naomi Campbell in an outré puffball gown with oversized collars, and Nicole Kidman clad in metallic silver.

Gvasalia’s show reached its penultimate moment when finally, the Balenciaga bride appeared. A backless white wedding gown covered completely with a crystal-embellished veil referenced an archival motif. A piece of art, the wedding gown went through a 7,500-hour embroidery process that used 25 paillettes and beads and thousands of crystals, silver beads, and sequins.

The show was everything Balenciaga is synonymous with under its current Georgian Creative Director. This season’s collection was more personal, and if last season’s show put Balenciaga back on the haute couture map, this show proved it is where Balenciaga belongs.