Sunglasses at night

Balenciaga SS21
Fashion | 5 October 2020

In spite of the ominous-looking cast of models, each hidden behind black glasses and blank expressions, Demna Gvasalia’s SS21 collection for Balenciaga was, he assured us, an optimistic look to the future. In lieu of a physical show, Gvasalia turned to the medium of film to convey his message, shooting an after-dark montage of models rampaging through empty Parisian streets while lip-syncing to Corey Hart’s synth-pop 80s classic, Sunglasses at Night.

This was a reflection of Gvasalia’s belief in a brighter future (the pun fully intended here), one in which his designs returned to doing what they do best: catching looks and turning heads on the street. And in a collection that emphasised upcycling and sustainability – an emerging trend of this season – there was no shortage of strong statements. Oversized, unisex garments – the kind that first launched Gvasalia to streetwear stardom all those years ago – dominated throughout, mainly via outerwear pieces that swaddled models with protective comfort. Sportswear references were also present (as were various other social cliques), with retro track jackets that will provide a fitting accompaniment to Balenciaga’s newly unveiled football shoe. In many ways, this was a return to Gvasalia’s raison d’etre as a designer, an attempt to bring fashion back in from the dark because, as the designer noted, “Some day we will be out of this.”

GALLERYCatwalk looks from this show