Following the Gucci Aria show in March, which showcased Balenciaga-branded pieces on the runway, Demna Gvasalia is now taking a jab at the “Hacking Project.”
On Sunday, Balenciaga showed its spring 2022 collection, featuring an array of “conceptual interpretations” of Gucci accessories, according to the show notes, and the second installment of Balenciaga’s collaboration with popular clog brand Crocs. To make matters even more surreal, director Quentin Deronzier scanned and used model Eliza Douglas’ face on all looks.
“We see our world through a filter — perfected, polished, conformed, photoshopped,” the show notes read. “We no longer decipher between unedited and altered, genuine and counterfeit, tangible and conceptual, fact and fiction, fake and deepfake.” The world, according to Gvasalia, is basically one big pile of digital clones.
A mix of iconic Gucci accessories, including the Jackie 1961 bag, and new Balenciaga creations, intertwining double-G and double-B logos on a wide variety of hats, scarves, and leather goods, appeared on the runway. Gvasalia also brought back graffiti art of collections past, writing “This is not a Gucci bag” on a monogrammed tote, which will hit stores in November. Like Gucci's Aria, the hacking in this collection is not a collaboration but rather a criticism of “authenticity, counterfeiting, and appropriation within the fashion industry,” according to Gvasalia’s show notes.
Instead, the brand collaboration featured in this show was with Crocs. Titled “Balenciaga Crocs 2.0,” the partnership features heeled mules (yes!) and chunky-soled rain boots and sneakers. This partnership comes on the heels (ha!) of a stellar year for Crocs, which included sought-after collaborations with celebs like Justin Bieber, Bad Bunny, and Diplo, and even an Oscars red carpet appearance.
Gvasalia’s witty commentary on fashion extended beyond brand collaborations and hacking. He ran wild with the “altered” theme, featuring a hoodie with the words “Your Ad Here” over a hotline number emblazoned in front and another with a Balenciaga-esque Simpsons family portrait.
You can watch the full show (and see more deepfake techniques), below.