The Balenciaga Spring 2021 RTW collection is presented within a video that takes a wearable wardrobe onto darkened streets during a time when fashion week would typically light up Paris. Sustainability – in terms of design, production, and wear – stands in for an overarching narrative. 93.5% of the plain materials in this collection are either certified sustainable or upcycled. Intentionally destroyed or aged pieces and recontextualized concepts emphasize the importance of technical construction and underline the idea of finding unconventional beauty in classic, timeless garments.
At-home essentials are reimagined for an outing, as outer- or eveningwear (i.e. a faux shearling bathrobe; a layered silk pajama suit). Various types of dresses are patched together and engineered to create garments that can be worn in more than one way, each time creating a new silhouette. Streetwear codes are reconstituted, while deconstructed sweatshirts turn into headwear or are attached to the waistbands of pants. An ever-present trompe l’oeil concept is found in various jeans interpretations, from denim-printed fluid silk and five-pocket pants in jersey to full leather garments that look like a pair of classic five-pocket jeans and jean jacket from afar. Upcycled elements fuse craft and couture techniques.
The Neo Classic Bag is distressed and “destroyed” in tribute to its 20-year anniversary. The Ville Bag comes in soft leather for the first time and an Hourglass Bag is covered with faux shearling. Shoppers display pet shop-inspired packaging. Nylon backpacks and belt bags are proportionally oversized.
X-Pander is the newest addition to the Balenciaga sneaker family. A classic runner upper is mounted on springy soles, the heels of which expand with each step to achieve a bouncier gait. Another pre-collection shoe highlight is the Rhino derby with a pyramid-shaped toe and extra chunky sole. Home and hotel slippers, pool slides and orthopedic sandals are elevated and re-contextualized with the addition of heels or platforms.
The Balenciaga Spring 2021 RTW presentation video is directed by Walter Stern and set to a new cover of Corey Hart’s “Sunglasses at Night” by BFRND. Throughout the video, large, wraparound sunglasses are omnipresent. Their anatomical shape and light-obscuring lenses, especially at night, represent an irreplaceable element of the fashion silhouette.