balenciaga’s new mannequins are terrifyingly realistic

Demna’s vision just gets weirder -- and we love it.

by Douglas Greenwood
18 September 2019, 5:29pm

Photo via Twitter

Bad mannequins with human features -- you know the vibe, beady eyes and dodgy wigs -- are the stuff of nightmares. Mainstays of department stores of the past, they’ve since been relegated to stockrooms and skips in de-limbed form as the high street dies with them. In its place, sleeker statuettes have come forth: chic, often headless bodies that show how the clothes look on without staring into your soul, your darkest, most deeply buried memories rising to the surface and flashing before your eyes.

If there’s anything Demna Gvasalia has liked to play with since arriving at Balenciaga, it’s those cultural touchstones of our past that just distant enough for us to start to forget them: the Matrix aesthetic and deliciously tacky tourist garb of our 90s childhood holidays are just two of the many things he’s made cool again. It’s no surprise department store mannequins have been given a clever re-up in his hands too.

For the launch of Balenciaga’s New York City flagship on Madison Ave and 59th Street, Demna has transformed a near 4,500ft space into a vision of fashion’s future: an all glass interior, wraparound screens projecting blue skies and other atmospheric scenes, Tobias Spichtig sculptures dancing with resin-dipped Balenciaga archive pieces and, most importantly, a collection of 3D printed mannequins made to resemble real-life people. But they’re not just any random old sod, they’re all near-identical replicas of models that have walked Balenciagas catwalks in the past. BHS, quite simply, could never!

If you want to check out these terrifyingly well executed replicas of Balenciaga models wearing the brand’s AW19 collection to hit stores, the NYC flagship is open now. Just make sure you’re talking to a sales assistant and not a 3D-printed mannequin if you need help, okay?

This article originally appeared on i-D UK.

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