Dezeen Magazine

Balenciaga's Spring Summer 2019 collection aims to question the digital era

Models walked through a kaleidoscopic tunnel intended to replicate the inner workings of a computer at Balenciaga's Spring Summer 2019 ready-to-wear show at Paris Fashion Week.

The fashion show took place in a narrow tunnel with curved ceilings and semi-reflective flooring at the Cité du Cinéma in Paris on 1 October.

All the surfaces were covered in digital screens that were used to show a multicoloured digital art installation by Canadian artist Jon Rafman.

Balenciaga's Spring Summer 2019 collection questions the digital era

Balenciaga's creative director Demna Gvasalia creased the show to explore technology's impact on society.

"We wanted to create the idea of being inside somebody's digital mind," said Gvasalia. "Through technology, we can transport people into another reality."

Balenciaga's Spring Summer 2019 collection questions the digital era

Prior to the show beginning, the tunnel shone with blue light and projected programming codes and digital start-up messages, intended to evoke the sensation of being inside a computer.

As the show got underway, the words projected on the panels that lined the tunnel appeared to melt on to the floor, giving way to digital renderings of ocean waves and later, bright red volcanic lava.

Balenciaga's Spring Summer 2019 collection questions the digital era

Throughout the show, the images illuminated on the tunnel walls cast a series of different scenes, ranging from a multicoloured periodic table to towering metal structures, with a recorded voice on loop repeating the words, "Presence is the key, now is the answer, ego is not who you are".

Models walked out in "neo-tailored" – Gvasalia's description of tailoring for the next generation – ensembles that merged traditional workwear with street style, including oversized shoulder-padded suits and corset-laced leather jackets.

Balenciaga's Spring Summer 2019 collection questions the digital era

These were worn with chunky light-up boots and dresses covered in Powerpoint Clip Art motifs. The closing look featured a short, panelled dress dotted with the Balenciaga logo recreated in a series of Microsoft Word fonts, including comic sans.

Demna Gvasalia, who is both creative director at Balenciaga and head designer of Vetements, achieved notoriety with his £1,705 version of IKEA's blue shopping bag.

He frequently explores technology in his approach to fashion. Earlier this year, the Georgian designer incorporated QR codes into the items of his SS19 collection for Vetements so that wearers of the brand could learn about the history of his home country by scanning the inbuilt codes in each garment.