Balenciaga Debuts Spring 2022 Collection With Deep-Fake Runway of Clones

Featuring the return of its hacking lab with Gucci.

Fashion
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Balenciaga has unveiled a surreal Spring 2022 collection, dubbed “Balenciaga Clones.”

The Paris-based label’s latest range teeters between reality and imagination, as creative director Demna Gvasalia enlisted a virtual, deep-fake runway, thought up by director Quentin Deronzier, to debut each new piece. One model — artist Eliza Douglas, who has either opened or closed every Balenciaga show since its conception in Fall 2016 — was digitally cloned to debut all 44 men’s and women’s looks. In order to successfully replicate the creative, Deronzier had to teach body doubles to walk in the same fashion as Douglas, before C.G. grafting her face onto each stand-in model.

Finalizing the fake runway, post-production required extensive technology, including planar tracking, rotoscoping, machine learning and 3D modeling, in order to make the the presentation appear as real as possible. According to WWD, Gvasalia claims that Douglas’ clones are a commentary on the uniformity of trends and their diminishment of individuality, while the video presentation as a whole is meant to prompt people to reflect on society’s obsession with screens.

As for the fashion, each new design is entirely real. A dark, draping garb opened the show, followed by an elongated blazer silhouette and a vivid yellow dress. Elsewhere, a sweatshirt featuring The Simpsons characters wearing piece’s from last season’s collection, bright-colored Crocs and accessories riffing on fast-food packaging heighten a sense of playfulness throughout the range. The brand’s signature deconstructed puffers, hoodies and trench coats receive supersizing treatment across a slew of double-take worthy ensembles.

Following Gucci’s lauded Balenciaga hacking lab on its “Aria” runway in April, where Alessandro Michele recreated Balenciaga’s classic diagonal branding, Gvasalia “stole” signature Gucci bag constructions and reprinted them with “BB” motifs instead of “GG.” Furthering the fashion brawl, one weekender appeared on the falsified catwalk covered in grafitti, reading “This Is Not a Gucci Bag,” referencing René Magritte’s 1929 painting The Treachery of Images.

Watch the digitally mastered runway show, above.

In another fashion debut, Supreme and Emilio Pucci have unveiled a Spring 2021 collection.

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