Constructs of power & social politics in everyday life

Last September, for Balenciaga’s SS20 show Creative Director Demna Gvasalia channelled his creativity in a show sparked by the concept of power and power dressing as an extension. Guests were invited to a circular arena show space resemblant and inspired by the the one we associate with EU parliament, covered entirely with carpets and chairs in a shade of blue similar to that of the EU Flag.

In this space , the designer presented a collection of “fashion uniforms” that were anything but uniformed — unless speaking in the context of Balenciaga house codes. The lineup began with a series of simple black suit looks with a logo similar in design to the one of MasterCard on their breast pockets. Soon after came a series of dresses inspired by the attire of female politicians during their campaign process, but with wider shoulders and paired with boxier boots. Following this, there were trench coats, silks, plisse, denim printed silk and puffer jackets with shoulders so big it seemed like a homage to the instagram account @itsmaysmemes.

Each look from the collection created singular personalities just as real as the people who wore them, and each one’s character was amplified by the designer who imposed the constructs of power, almost like the concept of real people, but in 3D. Some carried briefcases, some clutched cell phones, a few held Hello Kitty bags, some wore MasterCard inspired Visitor plate earrings . Gvasalia’s most evident tribute to power however, was his use of volume, an aspect that has always been a part of the Balenciaga DNA. The designer created exaggerated proportions in the shoulders of silks gowns, a fur coat and oversized bomber and the icing on the cake was the series of evening gowns made huge by the removable crinolines which sat under them as they bounced around.
Although the collection was an ode to exaggerated workwear, the designer did not abandon his renown love for streetwear. The tyrex sneakers , track sneakers, his signature thigh high boots, velvet thigh high dresses and other aspects were enough to feed that aspect of his fanbase. The entire collection was an ode to the belief in oneself, as a sort of statement that we all can get up in the morning and dress and carry ourselves in ways that make us feel as powerful as politicians.