In a not-so-distant future, what was once considered ubiquitous—banal, even—is now rarefied, often only experienceable via simulation. Weather, for example, is machine-made or rendered digitally; snow is exotic. The term “winter” takes on a new meaning, although imbued with nostalgia for a time of predictable seasons.
Balenciaga Winter 22 is presented on an infinite white field, encapsulated with a protective glass screen. In this real-life 3-D live stream with a 360° view, we observe the idea of a season as we once knew it. Just as a souvenir snow globe preserves a memory, the impending present plays out within a manufactured storm, mapping past winters onto the next.
Classic looks are pared down and redrawn, letting bold silhouettes stand out. Hybrid stretch dresses and bodysuits fit and fall in new ways by combining gloves, shoes, pants, trains, or leggings. Staples, like turtlenecks, pants, and jersey hoodies are partially destroyed, shrunken, or oversized.
Pullover outerwear reimagines the jacket—leather, puffer, bomber, denim, track—as a closed-front garment. A simple towel is worn as a wrap, made from high quality stretch knitwear. A top is made from a pair of jeans. A T-shirt attached to the underside of an embroidered logo can by layered or left to hang out.
Graphic prints announce XXXL fits or messages like “Be Different,” while logos are blocked out with black tape. Custom Balenciaga packaging tape acts as a belt around a wrap coat or baggy pants. Double-breasted suiting and trenches are pre-wrinkled and collapsible, made to be balled up for easy packing.
Accessories are enlarged and exaggerated, emphasizing reuse and alternative materials. Faux feather boas are made with frayed organza. The Crush Bag is a soft box shape, held by one or two handles on opposite edges. The Swing Bag is made of multiple layers, held by a looping chain strap. The Trash Pouch is inspired by a garbage bag. Purses are made from pairs of Cagole or Rodeo boots.
The HD Sneaker is a lace-up consisting of one flexible, solid piece. The Knife Wader combines two classic styles with a flared upper, pointed toe, and spike heel. The Glove Boot is a sleek, rounded toe heel in multiple heights.
Research and innovation are key during the predictably unpredictable time ahead. EPHEA™ is a cutting-edge, mycelium-based material exclusively developed for Balenciaga—the first of its kind. Engineered to diminish an ecological footprint without compromising quality or technical performance, it is made from the vegetative body of mushrooms. Specifically, it is woven from an abundant, quickly growing organism that uses minimal resources and emits trace amounts of CO2 as it feeds on low-value agro-industrial residue. Bio-fabricated using a proprietary process, EPHEA™, used in this collection for a floor-length coat, is an organic, viable alternative to leather that is finished with a sustainable treatment.