It’s been a big few days for Balenciaga. Within the span of five days, the French house joined Gucci for its 100th anniversary “hacking lab”, complete with co-branded apparel and accessories, it partnered with Rammstein for a multi-faceted joint effort and launched its first Brazilian store. To cap its big week, Balenciaga has debuted its co-ed Winter 2021 Pre-Collection lookbook.
Before even getting into the actual apparel, Demna Gvasalia wanted to make one thing especially clear: nearly everything in the new collection is crafted from recycled and eco-conscious textiles aside from necessary concessions like sneaker glue, the creative director told Vogue. “When I started this collection, I said only show me sustainable fabrics,” Gvasalia said. “I don’t want to look at anything else.”
This is part of the luxury house’s greater focus on reasonably sustainable production — the industry is not and never will be truly sustainable, of course, but at least according to the recent interview, Gvasalia at the very least has a dedicated interest in undercutting Balenciaga’s carbon footprint.
Otherwise, there are plenty of revamped Balenciaga signatures: enormous blazers, sporty coats, distressed denim jeans, quirky sunglasses cushy leather bags and more collaborative Vibram FiveFingers shoes. Double “B” logos appear throughout, complementing revamped branding that includes some stylized lowercase “b”s and the occasional gilded crest. There are also an especially intriguing chunky dad shoe on display, sporting its size printed on the toe akin to Balenciaga’s ultra-popular Triple S.
Alongside heavily branded caps and Incredible Hulk-printed T-shirts, several shirts and hoodies are laden with rainbow flags and “GAY PRIDE” verbiage in a collegiate typeface, perhaps a cheeky nod to the GAP logo. In particular, this graphic holds a personal meaning for Gvasalia.
“I’m gay. I grew up in a society where I couldn’t have worn that, and there are places in the world that you cannot today,” he said to Vogue. “It’s important to push through against homophobia. I’m not someone who goes out in the street and shouts. But this is the political fashion activism I can do.”
No word if profits from the Pride pieces will benefit a likeminded charitable organization, though Balenciaga does have a history of working with non-profits.
Even with new sneaker styles on the horizon, Balenciaga is still reworking its signature styles, as evidenced by the recent Track Mule sneaker.