The Fall 23 collection from Balenciaga was shown last night in a campaign that drew inspiration from the classic mirror selfie. Models display the newest clothing created by artistic director Demna in a concrete-gray dressing room as if they were in a real boutique, a visual trick that, because of the sense of ordinary life portrayed in the photographs, allows the looks of the new line to take center stage. Even if the design enables them to wrap delicately over the shoulders of the models, practically turning the padded shoulders into a shawl, oversized coats, parkas, and waistcoats immortalize the distinctive silhouette of Demna’s creative direction.
The Fall 23 collections test the limits of textile sustainability by incorporating recycled or bio-based materials while yet maintaining Balenciaga’s renowned attention to detail. T-shirts, hoodies, and pants emphasize rich textiles, from satin to velvet, from soft leather to rubberized mesh, while seamless pullovers double as gloves. The accessories in this collection foreshadow the brand’s new path by incorporating Demna’s exquisite craftsmanship into Balenciaga’s geometric design.
The new BB Soft Bag, which is folded in on itself, and the Hourglass, which is made of metal but wrapped in synthetic fur, both mirror the same softness found in the clothing. The Beach Bag, which is shaped like a straw hat, the Santiago boot’s western flair, and the flower petal-covered pumps all evoke the sea even though the lookbook is intended for the fall. It is a collection that pays homage to the Maison’s history and the current artistic director while reinventing Demna’s Balenciaga. The boots and clogs are black, shiny, and have a point that is curled menacingly or are covered in sequins like a disco ball, if the new “purity” of this Balenciaga doesn’t make Demna’s dark yet sarcastic signature instantly recognizable.