There’s no way to talk about Balenciaga in 2023 without mentioning its ad campaign scandal and how the luxury house has attempted to move on in the intervening months. Balenciaga returned to the runway, dropped several new capsule collections, and has now finally unveiled its first proper seasonal campaign since the entire affair, highlighting its Fall 2023 looks.
Still, the scars linger. Balenciaga’s purported Supreme collab materialized online after it was apparently canceled and, even to this day, you can scarcely mention the Demna-helmed label’s name on social media without drawing at least a whisper of outrage.
But here we are. The intent behind Balenciaga’s decision to issue this Fall 2023 lookbook is clear: it’s only moving forward, and it’s doing so by looking back.
The Fall 2023 collection comprises looks similar to the ones we saw at Balenciaga’s FW23 runway presentation back in March, with a surprise here and there. It’s a little less safe than the fashion show, which was really, really pared back to basics (presumably to make as little a splash as possible) but it’s still a far cry from the outré Balenciaga looks we came to expect in recent seasons.
Again, you see a lot of Demna signatures here, like face-wrapping sunglasses, enormous shirts, voluminous jackets that obscure the entire upper torso, skin-tight leggings, thrashed denim, and footwear that swerves between heavyweight chunk and sleek heels.
Anyone expecting anything other than the expected will not be impressed. Balenciaga devotees will be content.
This is as close to a return to form as Balenciaga gets.
The imagery is indicative of the fashion house gingerly pushing its way back to fashion’s mainstream, issuing staple silhouettes and quintessential designs that’re safe enough to keep fans happy without again upsetting the masses.
Though Balenciaga is still walking on eggshells, it’s attempting to do so with a modicum of the confidence it once epitomized.