BALENCIAGA Summer 21 by Aybuke Barkcin


Dear Shaded Viewers,

When you are taking a casual stroll at night, do you wear your sunglasses? If the answer is no, after watching the Balenciaga show… you might give it a try.

Balenciaga presented its Summer21 pre-collection with a video directed by Walter Stern. The video showed a group of Balenciaga(ers) walking upbeat in the streets of Paris, while singing the techno cover of Corey Hart’s 1984 hit-song I Wear My Sunglasses at Night by Loïk BFRND.

After all, the streets are the original runway.

Despite the gloomy and empty feel of the streets due to the pandemic, one of the positive factors which came out of Covid19 was the conversation on sustainability. In the show’s notes, the brand expressed that 93.5% of the plain materials used in collection are from upcycled or certified sustainable fabrics and all the print bases have sustainable certifications.

A stronghold of Balenciaga is that the models are so carefully casted. I can’t imagine seeing any of them walking for any other brand, nor can I imagine them wearing anything other than Balenciaga.

Raf Simons, Alessandro Michele, Hedi Slimane and Demna Gvasalia are all designers who have brought their vision and brand’s image to life, by choosing a strong cast to represent them. Their models, to an extent, form their own community. When I think of these designers’ brands, I don’t know about you but for me, rather than clothes, a character comes to my mind.

When I look at Balenciaga’s cast, I see a lot of models who represent people I know and see in my life. The model wearing blue ripped sweater with holes, jeans and a backpack, I think of gamers. The model with the short hair, a rainbow collar and t-shirt that has Earth’s image on it, I think of modern hippies. The model with the black buttoned shirt and pants with a hanging Iphone case on his neck, I think of TikTok Eboys. The model with the all black ensemble, sunglasses and almost bald haircut, I think of someone from Matrix… All characters we subconsciously know, each unique and different, but all come together with the right attitude and styling.

Somehow it all works, it looks fresh and makes you wonder whether the next time you go for a night stroll, you should style that elegant metallic blouse you saved for a night out with sweatpants and hotel slippers. No wonder Anna Wintour reminded us to watch the Balenciaga show.

Aybuke Barkcin

Aybüke Barkçin is an art director, photographer, curator and writer that looks at fashion through the lens of political and societal dynamics. She completed her master's Creative Direction in POLIMODA, Italy and has a background in International Relations and Graphic Design. Her work can be found in her website: