Balenciaga has taken to the streets of Paris to show us all how to wear our sunglasses at night for its Summer 2021 Pre-Collection. In a video directed by Walter Stern, models walk the streets of Paris perfectly straight just as if they are on a runway, decked in Demna Gvasalia‘s latest garments that are indebted by a new vision for the brand — sustainability.
93.5 percent of the plain materials in this collection are either certified sustainable or upcycled, while 100 percent of the print bases have sustainable certifications. Coupled with the fact that this season’s collection is predominantly unisex, Balenciaga has deconstructed the fashion industry’s need for gender-specific clothing, thus further reducing waste. Additionally, pieces have been intentionally destroyed or aged, nodding once more to the idea of upcycling while also recognizing “the idea of finding unconventional beauty in classic, timeless garments.”
The Summer ‘21 Pre-Collection is perhaps Balenciaga’s best in a while. It presents dozens of looks set to BFRND’s cover of Corey Hart’s “Sunglasses at Night,” an apt song for the occasion. In the runway video, Balenciaga presents a faux shearling bathrobe and a layered silk pajama suit as two pieces of loungewear recontextualized as eveningwear, while streetwear codes have been further deconstructed. For example, a track jacket is bomber-lined, a tracksuit is, essentially, a plissé soleil skirt, and deconstructed sweatshirts are now headwear or have been attached to pants.
Elsewhere, we see five-pocket pants made from jersey, or “jeans” and a “denim jacket” that are actually made entirely from leather. There’s a nod to the brand’s heritage in the form of a new sheer gown made from basketball net chains, referencing Cristóbal Balenciaga’s fisherman’s net dress, while the Neo Classic bag has been “destroyed” in tribute to its 20-year anniversary.
And of course, it wouldn’t be a Balenciaga show without a new line-up of limelight-stealing shoes. Its latest divisive, yet trendsetting sneaker is the X-Pander: a classic runner shape that sits atop springy soles that expand at the rear when pressed on. They appear in a number of colorways and look somewhat similar to the Track runner, only elevated with a much more wearable ’90s-esque aesthetic.
There is also the Rhino derby, which elevates the classic style with a pyramid-shaped toe and an extra chunky sole. Lastly, home and hotel slippers, pool slides and orthopedic sandals have been reimagined as heels or platforms. Rounding out the Summer ‘21 Pre-Collection is a range of bags, most notably ones that reference pet shops, and the label’s collection of sunglasses which are best worn at night.
Take a look at the Balenciaga Summer ‘21 Pre-Collection in the gallery and video presentation above, and expect pieces to filter into stores sometime early next year.
In case you missed it, here is the Savage x Fenty Vol. 2 show.