Balenciaga Cruise 2025

Balenciaga Cruise 2025

Balenciaga's Cruise 2025 show in Shanghai combined high fashion with local culture. Playful proportions, unexpected materials, and a touch of irreverence defined Demna Gvasalia's vision for the future of the brand.
May 31, 2024

As the sun set over the futuristic skyline of Pudong, Shanghai, something extraordinary unfolded. The streets, once filled with the bustle of everyday life, were transformed into a canvas of creativity as Balenciaga‘s Cruise 2025 (Resort 2025) collection, inspired by Shanghai‘s towering skyline, took center stage at the Pudong Museum of Art.

The takeover began at Pudong International Airport, where travelers were greeted by striking photographs of actress Yang Chaoyue carrying a Le City bag, setting the tone for an immersive Balenciaga experience that extended to the chic Regent Hotel and the fashionable Xintiandi district.

The show, held at the Jean Nouvel-designed Museum of Art Pudong, showcased Demna Gvasalia’s signature blend of high and low fashion, a style that resonates strongly with China’s local fashion scene. Despite the rain, crowds donned plastic ponchos and clutched umbrellas to catch a glimpse of celebrities such as actress and house ambassador Michelle Yeoh.

Inside the all-white museum, a sea of black dominated the scene, with visors, wraparound sunglasses, off-the-shoulder suits and lace-trimmed dresses creating a cohesive aesthetic. Demna’s artful collision of high and low was on full display, blurring the lines between good and bad taste – a concept long embraced by Chinese fashion enthusiasts.

Set against the backdrop of the Pudong skyline, the show was inspired by the verticality of the towering skyscrapers. Demna expressed this through elongated vertical silhouettes, featuring extreme platform “metalhead” boots paired with oversized floor-length coats. The collection was a product of Demna’s instinctive approach, focusing on what excites him and creates desire rather than intellectualizing the process.

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Proportion was a key element in the collection, with an eclectic mix of clean hourglass skirts, clinging digital print bodysuits and garments like a trench dress cut wide at the shoulders and belted low at the hips. The season’s bags showcased Demna’s creativity, transforming puffer jackets and trench coats into tote bags and even turning a plaid shirt into a functional handbag slung over one shoulder.

Irreverent designs such as ripped tights pantashoes and a leather Balenciaga shoebox clutch were interspersed with a wide range of Balenciaga staples. Demna aimed to create a new balance between different facets of his aesthetic, proving that he is more than just the “streetwear hoody guy” or a reinterpreter of couture.

The finale of the show featured experimental semi-couture and couture dresses that focused on materiality. A cocoon column gown pieced together from travel bags, another cut from gift-wrap gold foil, and a third made from Tyvek paper – a subtle nod to one of China’s greatest inventions – showcased Demna’s innovative approach. The final gown, constructed from pink plastic bags over a decade old, was a striking example of couture made from recycled materials, and cut a sharp image amidst the falling rain in a city known for its rapid consumption.

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©Photo: Balenciaga