why balenciaga’s 360 degree show app mattered
Despite the odd technical glitch, the house's VR viewing experience echoed the exciting new dawn Demna Gvasalia was beginning to explore as artistic director.
"A reimagining of the work of Cristobel Balenciaga -- a wardrobe of absolute contemporaneity and realism imbued with the attitude of his haute couture," explained Balenciaga's fall/winter 16 show notes. "A translation, not reiteration. A new chapter." A new chapter penned by Demna Gvasalia. Fittingly, as the house's new artistic director began to answer the question of placing Balenciaga's legacy in the context of today and tomorrow, we were all invited to join the discussion. After revealing his plan to disrupt the fashion system to BoF last month, Demna opted to embrace technology by launching an app that offered an enhanced viewing experience far beyond the #frow. In a similar way to how Dior Eyes enabled more of us to delve deep into Raf Simons' farewell, Balenciaga let us into its digital daydream as Demna stepped into his new reality.
Whether you were watching through Google Cardboard, using an alternative headset, or just watching the old-fashioned stream, the viewer was empowered to find their own angle on the collection. Far from the blink-and-you'll-miss-it procession of most streams, the collection could be truly examined in 360 degrees. The show demanded extra scrutiny because all is not what it seems in Demna's world. While the collection was built around four couture "attitudes" that focused on how a manner of carrying oneself in clothing, viewers could see how cut and construction played with the psychology of the wearer. Ideas of fastening and unfastening fundamentally alters, not only the way the clothes fit, but their overall appearance too. For example, in one moment the impression of a suit ruptures and revealed itself to be a trompe l'oeil coat whilst "sportswear was given a false hauteur," with the attitude of cocooning opera coats. What was Demna saying? Why experience his Balenciaga vision through a snapshot on socials or catwalk gallery, take control and create your own show. The catwalk show is dead. Long live the catwalk show.