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Is Balenciaga…Back? Highsnobiety

Is Balenciaga…back? The Parisian house under Demna Gvasalia never really left (it sort of went dark for a moment after the campaign controversy). Instead, I’m talking about Balenciaga returning to its pre-scandal, pot-stirring ways.

Balenciaga just put on a big show in Los Angeles on December 2, its first in the City of Angels. The brand plopped some chairs in the middle of the street in the Hancock Park neighborhood, which also has the best view of the Hollywood sign. Of course.

When in the city of stars, the living ones flocked to Balenciaga’s Fall 2024 presentation. I’m talking Kim Kardashian, Kendall Jenner, Nicole Kidman, Tracee Ellis Ross, Sexyy Red, 2 Chainz, Rachel Sennott, Flo Milli, Salma Hayek, and Brooklyn Peltz Beckham and Nicola Peltz Beckham. I could go on, but I think I made my point: Balenciaga’s guest list was stacked.

Oh, and Cardi B walked the show, in case you missed the viral moment.

Balenciaga’s Fall 2024 soundtrack, scored by BFRND, featured everything from yoga class ads to generic "Yeah, I’m rich"-esque tracks you’d likely hear on Selling Sunset.

Models resembled the city’s famous residents in incognito Balenciaga looks — shades on, coffee cup in hand, and an Erewhon bag from their quick grocery run (planned or not).

Juicy Couture-level velour tracksuits paired with exposed thongs and UGG-like stompers, reminding us the our aughts icons like Paris Hilton and Britney Spears. Funny enough, Juicy’s co-founder, Gela Nash Taylor, was in the audience at the Fall 2024 presentation.

Balenciaga also unveiled a collaboration with Erewhon, expanding the expensive LA-based grocer’s fashion collaboration streak. There was also lots of activewear and sporty layers, giving way to oversized zip-ups paired with tanks and baggy shorts over skin-tight leggings.

Evening gowns felt very Hollywood premiere-ready and referenced some of Cristóbal Balenciaga’s original designs. The evening wear was probably some of the best looks, to be honest.

Essetially, Balenciaga’s Fall 2024 collection saw Demna, well, Demna-fy LA culture, resulting in garments that felt very LA but also very Demna’s Balenciaga.

That brings me back to my question: Is Balenciaga back? With Fall 2024, I’d say yes.

Balenciaga Fall 2023 was extremely calm, as expected for the house’s first show following the 2022 scandal. Spring 2024 saw Demna test the waters with viral bath towels as expensive casuals and biker bootpants (or pantboots?). Then, there was Summer 2024, which gave us a tad bit more old Balenciaga with a theatric setting, Demna’s loved ones as models, and those wild Cargo sneakers.

Balenciaga Fall 2024 is probably the best example of the old Balenciaga — "old Balenciaga" being Demna’s Balenciaga known for its gimmicky products and dramatic presentations.

Don’t get me wrong: Fall 2024 is much of the same Balenciaga by Demna, regurgitated in almost the same outfits and manner. But a huge show with the Hollywood sign in the background? Juicy Couture-like sweatsuits with the co-founder in view? Hyuck-worthy sneakers fit for Goofy?

It has old Balenciaga — wild shenanigans, over-the-top locations, tongue-in-cheek clothes — written all over it. Sure, it’s no pummeled Paris sneaker or chip bag bag moment. But the old ways of stylish gags and parodying fixtures like Apple and Supreme are there.

The question is: will it pack the same punch with fashion folk as before? With everyone on the quest for virality and trying to "out-wild" each other these days, some comments requested that certain labels make "real clothes" again not social media attention grabs.

Combing through reactions to Balenciaga’s Fall 2024 show, a few gave credit to the house’s couture-y pieces — they were pretty good, I will say — but brushed off the usual huge clothes and cartoonish shoes as "tired gimmicks." Not to mention, some folks aren’t over the controversial Spring 2022 campaign, which led the brand to start with a clean slate.

Balenciaga’s Fall 2024 may be the Balenciaga’s "I’m back" moment. But one can’t help but wonder how much further the "buzz" will take the world’s once hottest brand that fell from grace. Other labels, too.

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