Latex as a base – Balenciaga for spring 2023
The latest Balenciaga show with the spring 2023 collection is another show of a big fashion house in which latex is present. This time it was used in a fetish version as a base for each styling that serves to unify the images in the dystopian vision of the world.
Spanish fashion house Balenciaga, under the artistic direction of Demna Gvasali, showed its new spring 2023 collection on May 22, 2022. The show generated a lot of interest from the moment it was announced. No wonder, because the invitations sent out were in the form of a file of fake $100 bills. The whole cash was wrapped in a company bandanna and sprayed with a dedicated fragrance. Additionally, there were rumors and leaks. They were not counted on, as the show took place in a very unusual place, namely… the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).
The thing that first catches your eye is the use of latex in every styling. The outfits cover the entire body and are, in a way, the basis for building the styling. The atmosphere maintained is rather closer to fetish and BDSM than fashion. All thanks to the use of catsuits, masks with small cut-outs for eyes and mouth, gloves and socks. Such outfits fit the “full rubber” convention, where the body is covered with latex from head to toe. It is also worth noting that the latex costumes are not perfectly shined, but there is a slight sheen of unglossed chlorinated latex. Here’s the entire show:
Just as the venue of the event indicated, the show itself is not a classic one. First of all, the setting is unusual – a darkened stock exchange with lots of monitors displaying stock market data of large global corporations such as Pfizer, Twitter, Walt Disney, Bank Of America, Coca-Cola and others. These monitors are flashing and glitches. In the background we hear pulsating electronic music. Everything together creates a very dark, ominous and dystopian atmosphere, bringing to mind scenes from horror films that are happening here and now and of which we are a part.
The whole show can be divided into three parts. The first one is a presentation of classic and timeless fashion. We will find here suits, skirts, long dresses, jabots or trainers. The whole is kept in black style along with black latex. This is the darkest part of the show. The second part is characterized by different music. It is a rather gloomy cover of the song “New York, New York” by Frank Sinatra. We can see only black latex suits, masks and gloves. The fashion presented is evening wear, but it is controversial, disturbing, has distorted proportions and leaves room for interpretation. We see tuxedos, heavy boots, shiny materials, sequins. The third part is much more colorful thanks to sporty stylizations. This time they decided on energetic electronic music. There are neon colors of latex, masks and clothes themselves. What is striking is Balenciaga’s cooperation with Adidas. The designers expressed this by using Adidas’ signature three white stripes, under which is written “Balenciaga” in Adidas’ font. Here we see colorful glasses, masks with colorful plaids, sweatshirts, tracksuits, football jerseys, sports bags and more.
You have to admit that the show leaves a lot of room for interpretation. What role does latex play? First of all, the fact that every person appearing on the catwalk is dressed in the same latex outfit gives the impression of rejecting the element of individuality. It’s even difficult to determine the gender of these people at first glance. They all look very similar to each other, they are their own reflections and shadows. Another important element is money, global corporations and their role in today’s world. They seem to rule the world and dictate terms. People – like models – move through this world and operate with money. We are all alike in this regard and rely on this world order. But money can buy different things, just as all three parts of a show are different. Money can get us down and it can help us grow. So it must be spent wisely.