On every seat at the Balenciaga Winter 22 show sat a Ukrainian flag marking the designer’s support for the country during the war against Russia. A note from Demna highlighted his particular connection to the situation: “The war in Ukraine has triggered the pain of a past trauma I have carried in me since 1993, when the same thing happened in my home country and I became a forever refugee.”
He continued to explain the difficulty of working on this collection while such a tragic event was going on in the world: “In a time like this, fashion loses its relevance and its actual right to exist. Fashion Week feels like some kind of an absurdity. I thought for a moment about cancelling the show that I and my team worked hard on and we were all looking forward to. But then I realised that cancelling this show would mean giving in, surrendering to the evil that has already hurt me so much for almost 30 years.”
So as many designers have this season he made the difficult decision to continue but to pay tribute to those suffering in this terrible situation.
The 22 show took place inside an infinite white field, encapsulated with a protective glass screen. Models battled the elements, of wind and snow as the audience looked on from the other side of the glass, much like they were peering into a snow globe.
The concept was Demna’s metaphor for beating the odds and battling forward as models showed strength and resilience throughout the show. “The term “winter” takes on a new meaning, although imbued with nostalgia for a time of predictable seasons.” The show notes read.
Classic silhouettes are tight and fitted to the body, like a second skin. Outerwear essentials are reimagined. Jackets of all styles are given a new upgrade: the bomber, puffer, denim, track and leather are worn for protection.
Logos are key to the collection but many are blacked out with tape, while slogans and messages included “be different” and “XXXL. Other looks used custom Balenciaga tape to wrap around waists and ankles and one look featured a model wrapped head-to-toe in packaging tape (the same look was worn by Kim Kardashian in the audience.)
Accessories are enlarged and exaggerated and a “trash pouch”, inspired by a garbage bag, becomes the hero piece of the collection.
In shoes, the HD sneaker is a shoe made of one solid piece, while the Knife Wafer combines two classic styles with a flared upper, pointed toe, and spike heel. The Glove Boot is a sleek, rounded-toe heel in multiple heights.
See more of the collection below: