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The touristcore aesthetic of Balenciaga's Pre-Fall 2021 collection

Around the world with Demna

The touristcore aesthetic of Balenciaga's Pre-Fall 2021 collection Around the world with Demna

At the beginning of the year, we talked about touristcore, that is, the new relevance that the world of travel and tourism would have on fashion both in terms of aesthetics and in terms of product. And in fact, a year after the first lockdown, with the world of tourism substantially paralyzed, the desire for travel and exploration of the world has become stronger and stronger. It is, therefore, no coincidence that for Balenciaga's Pre-Fall 2021, Demna Gvasalia and photographer Patrick Welde have virtually made their models and audience travel, photoshopping each look in iconic locations such as the Taj Mahal, St. Mark's Square, Milan Cathedral, New York, Moscow and Shanghai. Familiar destinations both in the background and in the foreground: after the digital-medieval excesses of the FW21 collection, the Pre-Fall traces, updating them, the greatest hits of Gvasalia with a very strong focus on the product but without giving huge shocks to the storytelling of the brand, certainly waiting for the Couture collection that we will see in the summer for which all the fireworks will be reserved.  

Some seasonal novelties are there: the ironic twist on Gap branding, which becomes "Gay" (Gvasalia spoke in an interview about "places in the world where you cannot wear it"); a series of sweatshirts and T-shirts with Hulk designed on top and distressing, as well as creative branding. The most notable feature of the collection, however, remains the majority use of sustainable fabrics and, in terms of design, the construction of a trompe-l'oeil layering in which what appear to be multiple dresses superimposed on top of each other is a single piece that illusionistically recreates the stratification of the garments.  

Towards the end of the collection, we begin to feel the first signs of what could be the haute couture of the brand: a jumpsuit of grey-silver wool combined with a rigid and oblong bag, a quilted coat that evokes the shapes of the Baroque paintings that inspired the founder Cristobàl, another coat that is composed entirely of denim fabric, but also an ensemble of blouson and a pleated long skirt that is halfway between the workwear and the dress evening and theatrical stole-duvets wrapped around the hoodies. The real highlights remain accessories and shoes this season: bags, sneakers, hats, boots and glasses are the new accents that give the turn to familiar looks. 

In terms of future trends that the collection intercepts, however, the tourist declination of Balenciaga's aesthetic is remarkable, which already lent itself very much to the campiness intrinsic to the idea of touristcore, but which is now being put among the real tourists of the Hollywood Walk of Fame or the crowds of Paris or Tokyo. The college-style graphics, the emphasis on slouchy-chic and the cocktail of extravagant accessories, activewear and touches of French haute bourgeoisie are all the cornerstones of an uncoded and very transversal aesthetic but whose spirit finds all its cohesion in the desire for travel and internationality evoked by the compilation of famous destinations that become the idealistic background to the looks of the collection.