Dear Shaded Viewers,
So yesterday when I was watching the Balenciaga couture show, without a press release, I said, my huge mistake, that the bag reminded me of a tool box. How wrong was I…it was not a tool box it was a Balenciaga/Bang & Olufsen Speaker bag. The device is part bag, part Bluetooth sound system, Demna, you are a genius. I’m sure all my readers know the Danish audio brand Bang & Olufsen, haute couture in the world of sound systems. The functional purse can be used as a portable speaker. This is a limited-edition milled from a block of solid aluminum before being pearl-blasted, anodized and hand polished at Bang & Olufsen’s Factory 5 in Struer, Denmark over a period of several days to achieve a satin finish.
On one side, the multi-point connectivity speaker allows for high quality sound, with controls situated under the top handle. On the other side, a door reveals a handcrafted leather-lined compartment. Logos for each of the collaborating brands are laser etched into seamless aluminum. Only 20 editions will be available for purchase, at the newly opened Balenciaga Couture store at 10 Avenue George V.
Now for the other couture objects available at the new Balenciaga Couture store. Can I say again what a genius I think Demna is? The models opening the show yesterday were wearing Balenciaga Couture face shields engineered by Mercedes-AMG F1 Applied Science. The high-tech face shield was created by the engineering-focused business division of Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd which is dedicated to leveraging aerospace and motorsport technologies.
The Balenciaga Couture Face Shield is made of ink-tinted, coated polyurethane that is molded and polished by hand. Its combined aerodynamism, anti-fog technology, and optimized, breathable comfort was developed over several months of testing. It is engineered to optimize flow, improve performance metrics, and ensure a stabilized CO2 intake while considering the effect of temperature for fogging. Available exclusively at the new Balenciaga Couture Store located in the historic 10 Avenue George V building, the shields are engraved with Balenciaga and Mercedes-AMG F1 Applied Science can by personalized with a client’s initials upon request.
Now for the Couture Figurines that, along with the other Couture Objects, were available starting yesterday directly after the show. The handcrafted porcelain figurines were modeled after original Balenciaga Couture looks. They are made in the images of runway models Aki Nummela and Minttu Vesala in their 50th Couture Collection outfits and made entirely by hand at the Nymphenburg Porcelain Manufactory in Munich. Established in 1747, the manufactory is one of the few remaining places in the world that produces every part of a high-quality porcelain item manually. This process includes meticulous hand painting within a master workshop historical landmark that overlooks the Nymphenburg Palace.
Balenciaga Couture figurines exactly replicate in small scale the looks specified by a numeral card held in each model’s miniaturized hands, with as much attention to detail as the artisinal creations they represent.
During the Balenciaga 50th Couture Collection presentation in July of 2021, the newly reopened Balenciaga Couture salon was diffused with a scent that was created with artist and scientist Sissel Tolaas using real olfactory recordings rather than perfumery accords. Special devices extracted molecules from the walls of the Balenciaga Paris Couture House at 10 avenue George V (first opened in 1937, closed in 1968, and reopened in 2021), along with pieces from the Balenciaga archive and objects that belonged to Cristóbal Balenciaga.
Hints of burnt incense, tobacco smoke, warm skin, old paper, tanned leather, aged wool, delicate silk, exotic fur, oak, and even the oiled metal of sewing machines were found in these spaces and artifacts. Combined and reassembled, the resulting smell is one that evokes a place of historical importance at a time when it was being revisited after a hiatus.
This scent is now made into a candle that comes in a refillable, mirror-polished holder designed with Panter & Tourron. A lid fits smoothly over the holder’s distinctive, rounded shape when the candle is not in use, creating a standalone sculptural object. It comes in travel and home sizes.
When lit, the Balenciaga Candle transforms a room by conjuring the smells of others—essences that have been meticulously preserved to remember the inception of Balenciaga Couture. It is available at the Couture Store, located at the historic 10 avenue George V in Paris, open on July 6th, 2022.