A prominent luxury fashion house Balenciaga launched its Summer 2020 campaign with an unusual video. In general, this should not be anything surprising, as the public worldwide is quite well used to such abstract work from the design house. Its leader, a Georgian fashion designer Demna Gvasalia launched the campaign with a series of pictures and an apocalyptic video. The pictures included models, dressed head-to-toe in Balenciaga, posing as politicians. They, in a way, represented the electoral campaign.
Many say that this should be tightly connected to the 2020 US presidential elections. This is not the first time Gvasalia interferes with the big politics. Back in 2017, he launched a line based on the branded corporate wear, which closely resembled the Bernie Sanders campaign logo. Yes, Balenciaga goes this far with its ‘secretly coded messages’. What is next for the iconic fashion house?
Fashion and art influence other industries as well. Sometimes they are not even as tightly-connected. A good example is the escape room industry, which is quickly expanding around the world. The United Kingdom is one of the global hubs of the market. Britain is currently witnessing a remarkable growth of London escape games list as new fashion-inspired themes are introduced to some new venues. Brands like Balenciaga have particularly big impact as the escape room industry is driven by innovation, just like the French fashion house.
The video for the Summer 2020 campaign is something even more unexpected. It is hypnotic and watching it feels like being actively brainwashed. The newscast recording with some breaking news stories is stuck in between reality and distorted fantasy. Journalists, newscasters, reporters and everyone else in the video are dressed in Balenciaga.
The concept of the video is based on the output of a Paris-based artist Will Benedict who also produced it. He has a record of such works, including Charlie Rose, a prominent American journalist passionately interviewing an alien. Benedict says: “I try to find things that are very real, and very much a part of our very much real lived world. In the end, you don’t know where you are standing. I like that unstable kind of place.”
The video is basically revolving around the news program, broadcasting breaking stories of the day. The first to hit the program is the question “where is all the water going?”. At that point, viewers already realize that something is a bit off and the program is not a regular news coverage from your local area. We can not understand any of the characters speaking. Their mouths are full of the black, void material and the sounds are just non-humane. However, according to them, it turns out that all the water goes into the drain hole in California, called Monticello Dam Morning Glory Spillway.
Soon after the water news, the program tells us that there are no more traffic jams. The footage shows cars moving at a high speed through an intersection without stopping. Planets realign and sunglasses are required. This strange, stressful news piece was used to promote Balenciaga’s sunglasses from the Summer 2020 collection.
Another important message was under the news “pedestrians are back”. After the headline, the footage shows a plastic bag crossing a street along with pedestrians. The last part simply says “good news is coming up”.
It is difficult to analyze all of Gvasalia’s thoughts behind the Summer 2020 campaign video for Balenciaga. However, with the show a few months earlier, Gvasalia clearly made a statement about modern politics and dress codes for high-profile leaders. The show was set in an auditorium that clearly resembled many of the EU characteristics, including the color.
The French design house kept the weird, terrifying cheek bone prosthetics as part of the model makeup. They have become iconic characteristics for Balenciaga’s models and landmark fashion shows. You can also take a look at the recent Balenciaga x adidas collaboration and spring 2023 campaign.