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Balenciaga's best 5 campaigns in the Demna Gvasalia era

Weird is beautiful

Balenciaga's best 5 campaigns in the Demna Gvasalia era Weird is beautiful

Despite being a fashion house with over a hundred years of history, Balenciaga has had a very alternating life over the decades, including a phase of apparent death lasting for eighteen years and a revival at the hands of Nicolas Ghesquière, current creative director of Louis Vuitton's women's collections. But his most interesting life phase began in 2015 when Georgian designer Demna Gvasalia and stylist Lotta Volkova made their entrance into the fashion house transforming it into the most surreal, post-modern and meme-worthy fashion brand ever and equipping it with a new language accessible to new generations of luxury consumers. 

As the artist Miloš Trakilović explained well, interviewed about it by 032c:

«My generation, born in ’89, got to know the world not by walls but through transparent screens. t‘s a generation that understands usership but has problems with meaning. A vast, so-called ‘free’ generation of the free market economy that grew up with some freedom of movement, freedom of expression, and no future. Balenciaga and Vetements appeal not only to the global elite, but to this post ‘89 generation specifically, because these brands are crafted on meme-bait strategies».

The main vehicle of this new language that Trakilovic compares to that of memes are the brand's campaigns, which express well its idiosyncratic soul and its world of cyber-glossy references to Georgian society, digital culture and the 90s - best represented by the videos created for the Spring 2019 campaign by Turkish artist Yilman Sen.

For this reason nss magazine has compiled a list of the five best Balenciaga campaigns created under the direction of Demna Gvasalia.

“Real Balenciaga” Capsule Campaign

Balenciaga's most recent video campaign, published to coincide with the presentation of the brand's FW20 campaign, is a video dedicated to the capsule "Real Balenciaga" that almost frames the acronym for Keeping Up With the Kardashians, the famous and long-lived reality show that has followed the life of the eponymous family for eighteen seasons. The genius of the video made by the American photographer Chris Maggio with the music of Sam Shrieve and Liz lies in the recontextualization of fashion within the trash culture of reality shows – which is also the basic process of the irreverent aesthetic given by Gvasalia to the brand. 

Summer 2020/Video Campaign 

What is perhaps Balenciaga's most bizarre and disturbing video campaign, a dystopian and surreal newscast in which men and women decorated with prosthetic make-up move and speak like puppets, constitutes one of Gvasalia's most accomplished aesthetic achievements. The visual theme of dystopian society and criticism of the empty language of politics and the press is conveyed through the use of the color blue, the color of the European Union, which shared both the set of the SS20 show of the brand, as well as the photographic campaign – which instead traced the election photos of politicians, but with an androgynous and vaguely alien twist that exaggerated and grotesqueized the corporate aesthetic by turning credit cards into earrings and covering clothes of logos of his fake News.

Winter 2019

Taking a break from aliens, cyberspace and feverish visions of a surreal and dystopian world, Balenciaga's FW19 campaign has rediscovered the brand's more sentimental and Parisian side. In the campaign photos, a series of real Parisian couples of all ages, ethnicities and orientations are immortalized on the streets of the city wearing ringing coloured dresses and exaggerated silhouettes – mood that was explored in the video shot in Berlin for the brand's FW20 campaign. Of all Balenciaga's campaigns, this is the most delicate and innocent, a nod to youth, love and inclusiveness that partly recovers the style of the French nouvelle vague. The campaign was shot by Greg Finck, a photographer specializing in weddings, and was accompanied by a video in which several couples talked about their relationship.

Summer 2018 Womanswear 

A series of photographs in which the models, as celebrities walking the streets of Paris, seem to be photographed by angry paparazzi, intent on running away, covering their faces and taking refuge behind the black coats of bodyguards. Gvasalia really turned to Agence Bestimage, a photo agency that created the campaign with real paparazzi. A concept already explored by the famous Don't Shoot service that Tim Walker created for Vogue Italia in 1999 but also in Dolce & Gabbana's SS92 campaign. A further touch of veristic was given to the shooting by erasing the faces of passers-by just like in the real tabloids. A choice, for the visual format of the photos, that invites to reflect on the toxicity of celebrity culture, the voyeurism of followers and fish also in the language of anti-fashion on the conceptual level, exhibiting subjects who, instead of showing themselves, angrily escape the goal.

Summer 2018 Menswear

Perhaps the culmination of that hallucinatory normcore style loved by Lotta Volkova, who directed the styling, the SS18 campaign for the Menswear brand recalls the kitsch world of family portraits of the 70s and 80s, exhibiting the fiction of photographic technique through a series of stylish wallpapers and washed-out colors, erasing all the pre-concepts of glamour and beauty through a series of faded and decidedly unerly portraits that channel the ironic awkward in the concept of fashion Gvasalia.