With bags adorned with the label Erewhon, cleverly crafted as an anagram for Nowhere, Balenciaga unveiled its Fall 2024 collection in Hollywood. The inspiration behind Erewhon traces back to a British satire written in 1872 by Samuel Butler, envisioning a fictional place that challenged the prevailing norms of religion, law, and order during that era. Interestingly, Erewhon is also the name of an organic supermarket founded in Los Angeles during the 1960s. This season, Balenciaga forged a merch collaboration with the latter, featuring a range of items such as baseball caps, coffee cups, t-shirts, bags, and even an apron.
Contrary to the 'return to authenticity' and the brand's roots that Artistic Director Demna aimed to restore after Balenciaga's controversial ad campaign last year, this collection took a different direction. Notably, there were no logos present, and Hollywood, the global epicenter of the entertainment industry and celebrity culture, served as the backdrop for the show. Balenciaga's guests and models, including the new brand ambassador Nicole Kidman, alongside notable figures like Kim Kardashian and Cardi B, highlighted the brand's affinity for high-profile presence.
The runway showcased the distinctive Balenciaga aesthetic, challenging conventional proportions with oversized elements on sleeves, shoulders, and hems of various tailored pieces. Introducing a new sneaker, the 10XL, Balenciaga departed from the chunky sole trend of its predecessor, opting for expansion in girth. Priced at 1,190 euros, some may find it steep for a polyester and rubber shoe manufactured in China.
'Demna's interpretation of LA's fashion codes'
The collection revisited the fashion trends of the 2000s, featuring velour track suits in vibrant Barbie pink and blue, complete with low-slung underwear on display. The Balenciaga version of Uggs, named the Alaska boot, made a return, humorously parodying the Australian sheepskin shoe made famous by Kate Moss.
Balenciaga described the collection as "Demna’s interpretation of L.A.’s fashion codes through a cinematic, character-driven lens. Ideas transitioned from everyday activities like jogging, yoga, and gym sessions to Hollywood evenings with a step-and-repeat-ready aesthetic."
While the show embraced the tropes of hype pieces designed to sell and drive social media engagement, it lacked finesse beyond the obvious. The return to masterful garments, reminiscent of the quality clothes designed by Cristobel Balenciaga himself, was notably absent.