jon rafman creates a cyber-hellscape for the new balenciaga campaign
The famed digital artist and Demna Gvasalia collaborate on a chaotic two-minute video.
The latest campaign from Balenciaga is in, and it’s gone even further with its madcap Y2K aesthetic than the show that presented the collection to begin with.
Cast your mind back to spring/summer 19 in Paris and you’ll probably remember the epic Balenciaga showspace, part-runway, part-immersive video installation. Models walked through an LED-lined tunnel that curved around the catwalk from floor to ceiling, creating an all-encompassing virtual tunnel reminiscent of a single strand of digital data beaming through the internet (This is in fact a very technical and accurate explanation of how the internet works you nerds). “We wanted to transport people,” creative director Demna Gvasalia explained afterwards. “Fashion shows should be moments that transport people, otherwise there’s no point. It was like working on a movie, getting people into another reality, so it stays as a memory.”
Of the collection itself, Demna described it as “neo-tailoring, a new glamour for a new generation that haven’t grown up with it,” the striking silhouettes cutting an almost paradoxical balance of futuristic and nostalgic style.
The set was the work of famed Canadian digital artist Jon Rafman who Demna had met at Art Basel. The pair soon decided to collaborate on the show, and have now worked together again on the collection’s accompanying campaign video. References for the chaotic, low-fi, high-energy cyber-hellscape they created likely include The Matrix, Y2K aesthetics and 90s video games. Tiny sunglasses are here to stay it seems.