The Lost Tapes

Balenciaga’s SS22 collection was a dark ode to the late 90s (ft Harmony Korine)
By Bailey Slater | Fashion | 8 December 2021

Delve into Demna Gvasalia’s late 90s fashion fantasy with the help of famed counterculture director, Harmony Korine (Kids, Gummo, etc).

The nineties was a colossal decade for the industry, dominated by long-legged supermodels, heroin chic, troublemaking Saint Martins alumni and, of course, grunge. A tug of war between the excessive remnants of the eighties and a new wave of slinky minimalism, it’s a time Balenciaga’s creative director Demna Gvasalia, who from this point on wishes to be known mononymously as ‘Demna’, certainly holds dear.

For Balenciaga’s SS22 collection, Demna proposes The Lost Tapes, a deep dive into the cultural significance of life before the millennium bug. The project includes backstage testimonials from a whole host of fashion greats, including former NY Times runway critic Cathy Horyn, supermodel Naomi Campbell and New York nightlife trailblazer Susanne Bartsch, in addition to a lookbook comprised solely of polaroids for an added throttling of nostalgia.

Grainy stills show Demna’s brat-pack in gloomy repose, cloaked by an array of chunky black sunglasses and long, draped Matrix coats and zip-laden jackets with line-backer shoulders and leather finishes. The knits are stretched out of their ultra shrunken form. Front-to-back pieces flaunt formal tailoring. Pleated sleeves unfold into voluminous bells and vintage slip dresses find themselves spliced up and stitched back together in Frankensteinish charm.

And how could we forget the labels new footwear classics: The Excavator and The Kensington. The former is a sturdy fusion of a cowboy boot and your classic festival wellies, the latter a square-toed ballerina slipper. Save for the odd baby tee and cropped cardigan, baring mid-riffs in fuzzy blue and fluorescent green, a frilly gown of pastel tulle and a couple of asymmetric double denim moments, Demna’s palette was unwaveringly committed to defining the world of the modern health goth. 

His blacker than black uniform ended with the accessories, including more bug-eyed sunnies, leather backpacks with thick Gromit belts for handles (aptly titled The Emo Bag), and in tribute of the decades many, many It-Girls, a range of truly obnoxious purses. We guess it’s like the saying goes: the bigger the buckle, the closer to grunge.

GALLERYBackstage images from Balenciaga WSS22

GALLERYCatwalk images from Balenciaga WSS22