The dream of the 90s is alive at Balenciaga

The ’90s have been’ back ‘in fashion for years, but all those nostalgic getaways with work clothes, sportswear and tie-dyeing are a pale imitation of the real thing. There is an essential cultural element, a sensitivity, which was lacking. If you’ve seen Robert Altman Ready to wear, the cloud of dreams Isaac Mizrahi by Douglas Keeve Decompressed, or looking at pictures of Helmut Lang or Martin Margiela’s parades from that period, you probably know what I’m talking about. It’s fashion not as something at the level of football or hip-hop but as a subculture, with a pantheon of personalities unknown to the rest of the world. It’s fashionable as a little secret club and refuge for nervous freaks. It’s a world where Margiela, Lang, and Yohji Yamamoto produce wacky shapes and ideas that only experts (a small but staunch group of consumers) can understand.

This is the attitude that the creator of Balenciaga Demna – who according to the show’s ratings is now just Demna, a la Prince and Madonna and Ye and God bless him for that – exploited with his fall 2022 show. A lo-fi film with analog tape processing directed by ’90s subcultural grime king Harmony Korine, the show opens with chaotic behind-the-scenes scenes and red carpet arrivals, and includes flattering interviews with Isabelle Huppert and Cathy Horyn (“He knows how to make it modern,” says Horyn, embodying the classic 1990s fashion commentary who is both a madman and hilarious genius.) The lookbook is a series of polaroids, with names and look numbers scribbled in pencil. If you’ve started “Fashion TV” on YouTube, or consider yourself a Tim Blanks fanatic, you know the vibe, and Balenciaga nailed it with a happy verisimilitude.

It was nice to be “out there” even though I wasn’t there to witness the real thing in the first place. Why? Well, it was a fun pose for Demna to take after the year had passed, as he dressed the world’s most famous people (Kim Kardashian West, Justin Bieber) and embarked on projects that would bring his work to life. an unprecedented audience (Ye, The simpsons; at this time last year he was making a video game, an aesthetic opposite).

The updated hourglass jacket.

Courtesy of Balenciaga.

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