Last night in Paris at Le Théâtre du Châtelet, Balenciaga skipped the classic catwalk once again and instead opted for a red carpet premiere to present its latest Spring Summer 22 collection. Which made me think whether the red carpets are the new runways? Today in our digitally connected world, ‘which celebrity wore what’ gets more attention online than the usual fashion week shows, so why not combine both?
The staged event had the models and celebs dressed in the latest collection by Creative Director Demna Gvasali, as they were sent down the red carpet for an encounter with the paparazzi. The star-stunned affair included many familiar names; from Olympic tennis player Naomi Osaka to rapper Cardi B, Offset, Anna Wintour, Naomi Campbell, Mark Tuan, Dev Hynes, Elliot Page, Isabella Huppert…
As for the actual collection; gigantic ruffled gowns, signature oversized black suits, sequinned dresses with high slits, ripped loose jeans, tight bodysuits, ill-fitting leather jackets, mysterious sunglasses, face masks… all made their appearance for the premiere.
But the highlight of the event was what happened behind doors. As we wondered what the mysterious ‘premiere’ would be about, it was completely unexpected and pleasantly surprising to find out Balenciaga’s collaboration with the creators of the Simpsons on a one-off episode.
“Because I’ve always loved The Simpsons, for its whole tongue-in-cheek nature and the slightly romantic-naive side to it” Gvasali expressed in an interview with Vogue.
The clip starts off with Homer Simpson writing a letter to Balenciaga, asking them to lend a gown to his wife Marge for her birthday. Touched by Marge’s affection for the dress, Gvasalia invites the town of Springfield to model his clothes in Paris (by convincing them that a new KFC opened at the Champs-Élysées).
Deciding what to wear for the runway, having some escargot for a pre-show snack, learning how to french kiss…the episode hits several home runs for Balenciaga. One, while most designers use cultural references in their brands, Gvasalia proves that he knows how to create cultural moments. Two, though Balenciaga comes with a hefty price tag, the collaboration reaches to all audiences from all generations. Three, after years of the fashion industry taking itself too seriously, Gvasalia redefines the new cool, having a little fun with yourself.