The influence of LA’s wellness culture resonated throughout the show, with a satirical nod evident in the powerful soundtrack created by Demna’s partner, BFRND.
Demna’s American dream is filled with Erewhon shopping bags, tracksuits, enormously oversized sunglasses, gym bags, and to-go coffee cups. At least, that’s if his pre-fall 2024 collection for Balenciaga is any indication. Presented on Windsor Boulevard in the Hancock Park neighbourhood of Los Angeles, the designer showed his latest pieces against a setting that could only exist in the City of Angels: palm trees lined the street—which served as a makeshift runway—while the famed Hollywood sign was visible in the distance.
Balenciaga’s gothic retinue, dressed primarily in black, stood out dramatically against Hancock Park’s immaculate Windsor Boulevard. It seemed like they were walking into a vibrant Tim Burton movie or heading to a sunny Transylvanian funeral. This was the brand’s second destination exhibit in the United States, following its presentation at the New York Stock Exchange last year.
The collection was full of all the modern Balenciaga pieces one might expect from the Demna era—this time, divided between casual, real-life wear and red carpet looks. First came the outfits focused on the stereotypical L.A. lifestyle (think hoodies thrown onto bomber jackets or layered over sporty shorts with gold chain necklaces). Underwear peeked out from the tops of tracksuit waistbands; the show notes alluded to paparazzi photos of the aughts. Models careened around the pavement while holding phones to their ears, some toting leather Erewhon shopping bags that were part of a new collaboration with the French fashion house.
One chapter of the collection was dedicated to activewear, showcasing simple yet stylish pieces such as shorts, bras, leggings, and sweatshirts. Drawing inspiration from the American trend of velour tracksuits and the fashionable looks of celebrities photographed on the streets, Balenciaga unveiled new versions of this athletic attire. Notably, low-cut pants, some daring underwear, and cropped hooded jackets added a trendy and edgy touch.
Continuing with the theme of experimentation, Balenciaga presented a neo-grunge section featuring oversized and layered clothing. The collection featured standout pieces, including asymmetrical cutout pants, a hand-embroidered leopard-print coat, outdoor hotel slippers, and leather bags lined with a nylon tote. This avant-garde fusion of styles showcased Balenciaga’s commitment to pushing boundaries and redefining fashion norms.
The grand finale of the show was dedicated to evening wear, where the shapes and silhouettes exuded a highly structured and sophisticated aesthetic. Many of these garments expertly merged the past and present, paying homage to original designs created by the legendary Cristóbal Balenciaga himself. This seamless blend of historical references and modern design elements exemplified the timeless elegance and innovation that defines the Balenciaga brand.
In addition to the captivating clothing collection, Balenciaga introduced a range of new and highly desirable accessories. Notably, the limited edition Cagole Tote XL was unveiled to pay homage to the iconic Le City bag by Balenciaga launched in 2001 in an oversized format. This accessory promises to become a must-have item for fashion enthusiasts. Furthermore, Balenciaga surprised the audience with a new collaboration: Balenciaga for New York-based high jewellery and watchmaking house Jacob & Co. The exclusive high jewellery line is crafted from 18-carat white gold and diamonds, showcasing Balenciaga’s foray into the world of fine jewellery. The collection includes four designs: a chunky necklace and bracelet in a link theme, a thin necklace and an oversized two-finger ring in a text theme, boldly displaying the full name “Balenciaga.”
As the show concluded, fashion enthusiasts witnessed the arrival of the new 10XL sneaker. This avant-garde shoe boasts an extreme shape, pushing the boundaries of Balenciaga’s exploration of exaggeration and further solidifying the brand’s distinctive signature silhouette.
The show also had an incredible front row with Kim Kardashian, Kendall Jenner, Cardi B, Nicole Kidman and many more stars who stepped out at the Balenciaga Pre-Fall 2024 show in Los Angeles.
Balenciaga’s Pre-Fall 24 collection in Los Angeles exemplifies the brand’s commitment to innovation, creativity, and pushing boundaries. Fusing Californian fashion codes and cinematic inspiration, the collection offers a fresh perspective on style. From vibrant activewear to neo-grunge pieces and elegant evening wear, Balenciaga once again proves itself to be at the forefront of the fashion industry, captivating the audience with its unique vision and unwavering dedication to pushing fashion boundaries.