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Balenciaga's American Hacking

Demna lands in New York amid collabo with adidas and latex masks

Balenciaga's American Hacking Demna lands in New York amid collabo with adidas and latex masks

Just two weeks ago CNN Business headlined «A recession may be around the corner. Don't panic» ideally opening the doors to what was, at least on the surface, the central theme of Balenciaga's Spring 23 show. The New York Stock Exchange emptied out for the occasion, opening its doors to the usual parterre de rois composed of Anna Wintour, Kanye West, Pharrell and Frank Ocean, but above all to welcome what in Demna's intentions was a show divided into three parts, marked distinctly by music but united by the look of the models and models, whose faces were completely covered by a series of latex masks that made any features disappear-although Eliza Douglas at the opening was easily recognizable. «I wanted to represent the idea of fashion being able to erase people's identities. Everyone jumps on a trend and ends up looking like each other,» said the Georgian designer in presenting what for all intents and purposes we would call the final act in his long flirtation with American culture, which has gone from The Simpsons to Kim Kardashian's celebrity culture and arrived at its final chapter with Demna's landing in the United States of America itself.

In doing so, the brand has not lost its identity, but rather seems to have wanted to elevate it through two distinct and distant operations: if on the one hand, in fact, the Garde-Robe line wants to be a tribute to the Couture brought on stage last year and here re-proposed through a search for materials and cuts, on the other hand, the collaboration with adidas represents the more commercial soul of the brand, the one that - it is useless to hide it - has made its fortunes in recent years, transforming it into the totem we all know. Less attention on accessories then, almost absent from the show, and much more on clothes in a minimalism in which outfits that seem to want to recall those of a bygone New York take on the exaggerated proportions dear to the Gvasalian aesthetic, contaminating even footwear with the Steroid Boots and Derbys seen on the feet of the models and a few celebrities.

However, if anyone was expecting a critique of capitalism made up of ironic hoodies and winking slogans they will surely have been disappointed. «Money is the biggest fetish in the world,» Demna said when talking about the show in which Balenciaga literally hacked the New York Stock Exchange to the tune of glitches and techno music-except for the cover of New York New York sung by Carey Mulligan-still telling us about the communicative power of a brand that can transport its aesthetic to any context, be it physical or thematic, while carrying on a consistent narrative in its aesthetics and ideas. Some will scream of boredom at a show in which faceless models wear black, inconspicuous dresses, but if after all this time you still struggle to pick up on the hidden, unflagging details then maybe it's time to look elsewhere.