Fashion’s political statement on the Paris ramp
Fashion house Balenciaga seemed to pay a tribute to the refugee crisis with their recent showcase at the men’s fashion week in Paris. The collection shed light on Europe’s migrant crisis and the dreams of thousands seeking a new life there.
Designer Demna Gvasalia — a child refugee himself who fled to Germany from war-torn Georgia in 1993 — has made his name selling the clothes of the poor to the rich. The enfant terrible of the Paris scene sent out more than 60 models in various charity shop looks for the luxury brand, with plastic shopping bags bearing the legend “Europe Europe Europe” remade in slick soft leather. Some models carried children and expensive Balenciaga luggage bags with ‘The Power of Dreams’ written on a square of cloth stitched to their hoodies.
Others wore lifevest-like squares with “Europe” written on them, while still more sported plasticated jackets and ponchos emblazoned with “Europa! Quality. Experience. Professionalism.”
However, Gvasalia, known for his ironic reclaiming of unfashionable or “naff ” 1980s looks, made no reference to the refugee crisis as a source of inspiration. He chose a number of fathers from the Swiss banking capital of Zurich — to where he is moving his studio — to model with their children in his al fresco show in the Bois de Boulogne park on the edge of the French capital.
“As Balenciaga man... bypasses fashion on the way... to the dry-cleaner and a trip to the off-licence,” he wrote in his notes to the show. His clothes seem to have picked up a laminated Europa sign.
THE BALENCIAGA COLLECTION SHED LIGHT ON EUROPE’S MIGRANT CRISIS AND THE DREAMS OF THOUSANDS SEEKING A NEW LIFE THERE