After a period of reflection and solitude, famed designer Demna Gvasalia emerged from the shadows to dazzle the world with his most personal creation yet, the Balenciaga Spring/Summer 2024 collection. An honest and unbridled expression of self, the collection captures Demna’s essence, drawing a clear line in the sand against the polished and predictable norms that have encased the world of luxury fashion.
The preceding year was one of introspection for Demna. The silence and isolation brewed a storm of creativity, resulting in a collection that is both a revelation and a revolution. The Fall/Winter 2023 show, a prelude to his groundbreaking Spring/Summer 2024 line, was an intimate affair that assembled those closest to Demna. A live tableau of his life and inspirations, from his mother to his husband Loik, who is also known by his artist name, BFRND.
Balenciaga wallets doubled as faux passports, embodying Demna’s interpretation of fashion as a journey of identity exploration, far removed from the superficial glamor of traditional luxury. The designer’s disdain for the polished, fear-driven fashion resonated in the Spring/Summer 2024 collection, where raw aesthetics reigned supreme, heralding Demna’s triumphant return to authenticity.
A plethora of Demna-isms unfurled, his signature oversized hoodies, sinister leather coats, and the jesting accessories that set Balenciaga apart. The collection introduced the world to new volumes, a melange of upcycled clothing reimagined and crafted by Demna’s hands. Old met new in a spectacular dance of fabrics and silhouettes. Vintage trenches were transmuted, bearing four sleeves; evening gowns of black velvet and fuchsia satin converged in glittering harmony.
The South of France bore witness to Demna Gvasalia’s realization of the superficiality embedded in society’s reception of fashion. Clad in the black layers that mirrored his soul, he experienced alienation. This led to an experiment that saw him and Loik embrace an attire more palatable to societal norms, a temporary transition that emphasized the power and prejudice of apparel.
This revelation fueled Demna’s Spring/Summer 2024 collection, a resolute stand against the quiet-luxury phenomenon and a refusal to blend in. Unapologetic in its originality, the collection displayed a riot of imagination from gargantuan sneakers to four-sleeve bomber jackets. His mother, Ella, heralded the unveiling of these artistic innovations, while PR director Robin Meason, fashion professor Linda Loppa, and performer Amanda Lepore, among others, adorned the runway.
Demna Gvasalia’s journey of self-discovery and his defiance against the fabricated identities stitched by high fashion culminate in the Balenciaga Spring/Summer 2024 collection. Each piece, a rejection of silent luxury, and a nod towards unshackled creativity and identity. In this collection, garments tell stories, old materials are resurrected with new narratives, and identity, raw and untainted, is the true masterpiece on display.
Despite the edginess and visceral energy of the collection, the complexity of fashion’s creation process isn’t lost. The soundtrack, a meticulous instruction on tailoring a jacket, underscores the intense artistry and craftsmanship, moving away from marketing and business strategies.