Under iconoclastic and mononymous creative director Demna, Balenciaga has unveiled collections in Paris, via a video game, and inside the Simpsons universe. But until Sunday, Demna hadn’t yet mounted a runway show in America, where some of his earliest, most enthusiastic, and most famous clients reside.
Which is why on Sunday morning, Ye—who’s been known to clear out entire stores of Balenciaga garments in one go—was pacing the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange, taking in the brand’s Spring 23 show.
Demna, who wanted his first stateside Balenciaga show to take place in an iconic New York venue, has had a somewhat eerie sense of timing lately: his presentations, which have lately leaned into a hardcore sense of dystopia, have had an uncanny way of matching the vibe of current events. His long-planned Fall 22 outing, where blanket-clad models simulated trudging through a biblical snowstorm, felt all the more poignant against the backdrop of the Ukraine war and ensuing European refugee crisis.
Similarly, it felt darkly poetic that Demna held a show in the heart of Wall Street during a potentially recession-level stock market crash, even though this was, technically, a coincidence. “We thought about, like, what are the iconic places in New York?” Demna explained to a group of journalists after the show. Central Park didn’t work out, so they looked downtown. “I’m too busy fitting jackets and coats” to read the news about the stock market, he said. Still, as Demna often points out, fashion’s job is to reflect the world back at us. And he’s got a better sense of how, when, and where to do that than just about any designer working today.
(Less of a coincidence: Balenciaga will start accepting payments in cryptocurrency starting next month, according to a report this week, though Demna admitted he doesn’t own any and doesn’t understand it.)