In an audacious, tongue-in-cheek display, Balenciaga chose Los Angeles as the backdrop for its Fall 2024 collection debut on December 2. For the first time, the streets of LA, lined with towering palms, served as the runway for the Paris-based maison. The introduction of the 10XL Sneaker, was a signature Balenciaga move.
Demna Gvasalia, the brand's visionary creative director, crafted a narrative that seamlessly merged the relaxed style ethos of Los Angeles with Balenciaga's bold, hard-edged aesthetic.
After featuring in two Balenciaga campaigns and gracing prominent billboards for the brand, Cardi B captivated the audience by making her runway debut in a striking blue faux fur coat. Held in a street right in the center of Hollywood, with Salma Hayek, Nicole Kidman, Kim Kardashian and sister Kendall Jenner front row, this runway was as much about the convergence of high fashion with American pop culture and celebrity as it was about Gvasalia’s sartorial vision.
The Jing Take
The show opened with outfits encapsulating a quintessential LA lifestyle: activewear staples such as shorts, leggings, and sweatshirts reflecting the city's penchant for wellness and outdoor activities. Then a cheeky nod to the American velour tracksuit of the early 2000s marked a transition to more urban, street-inspired fashion - a humorous, self-conscious ode to LA culture in the naughties.
Low-slung trousers and cropped hooded jackets were accessorized with striking knee-high Alaska Ugg-style boots. But as the collection unfolded, a neo-grunge segment emerged, dominated by oversized, layered outfits. Here, asymmetrical trousers, an embroidered leopard coat, and an intriguing fusion of leather bags with nylon totes showcased Balenciaga's knack for reinventing classic elements with a modern twist.
The narrative then shifted to upscale daywear, where the intersection of informality and glamor was evident. The collection is marked by tailoring and the exaggerated proportions that Gvasalia is known for, with a notable hooded jacket featuring an integrated scarf — a clever design element that seemed to acknowledge the omnipresence of paparazzi in celebrity culture.
As for accessories, there was the Rodeo bag, inspired by the famous Beverly Hills street, an eyewear collection with evolved mask and batwing shapes, and of course who can forget those new gigantic 10XL Sneakers giving new meaning to exaggerated footwear. This was a show meant as a cultural statement, a fusion of LA's distinctive style, celebrity culture and the brand's avant-garde European design philosophy.
The eveningwear segment was the elegant apex of the show, paying homage to Cristobal Balenciaga's legacy. The collection featured highly defined shapes and silhouettes, blending historical references with contemporary design. The grand finale, a monumental white gown with structured face shield, was a dramatic statement that nodded to the theme of privacy and celebrity that runs deep in LA's cultural fabric.
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