Balenciaga’s Ode to L.A. Style

Naturally it features a collab with Erewhon.

Los Angeles has become a runway hotspot for luxury designers with the likes of Chanel and Versace both showing in the city this past year. Given the splashy front rows courtesy of being in close proximity to Hollywood, it makes perfect sense. But for Balenciaga pre-fall 2024, Creative Director Demna did more than just stage a destination show in sunny  California — he created an ode to LA’s past and present celebutantes and the wellness-obsessed culture that fuels them.

On a Saturday afternoon, Balenciaga brought its attendees—which included Kim Kardashian, Kendall Jenner, Eva Longoria, and the label’s new brand ambassador Nicole Kidman—to a mansion-lined street with a direct view of the Hollywood sign. Helicopters and drones buzzed in the air as guests arrived via party bus at the residential neighborhood-turned-runway show. Some carried around their energy bar invites inscribed with Balenciaga “nutrition” facts while others sipped jet black charcoal juice from the brand’s new collaboration with Erewhon, the upscale organic grocery store tailor-made for today’s influencer culture. Demna teamed up with the LA-based retailer on a capsule collection of dual-branded tote bags, thermal cups, and oversized hoodies that went live along with the show.

Things kicked off with a parade of edgy-cool sweat sets—exaggerated versions of the kinds of athleisure looks you’d see the average off-duty A-lister wearing on a typical Saturday afternoon. Monochromatic tracksuits were paired with colossal Ugg-inspired boots; exposed G-strings peaked over low-rise sweatpants; sensible sneakers came inflated to cartoonish proportions; and the famous Le City bag was reimagined as a nylon-lined grocery tote. To drive home the LA homage, models walked down the runway with silicone lips, cell phones, yoga mats and Balenciaga-branded water bottles in tow. The accessories were just as satirical as the background music, made by Demna’s partner BFRND, which featured a loop of faux advertisements for quick-fix magic pills and meditation classes. “We’ll teach you how to meditate, to forgive, and be at peace with your inner self! So, what are you waiting for? Medi-Station—breathing away all of your frustrations!” 

Later in the show, the Demna classics were on full display: orange-lined bomber jackets, sporty wraparound sunglasses, shoulder-padded oversized coats, and the infamous “pantaleggings.” There were even a few surprise runway appearances from Cardi B, who wore a bright blue furry coat, and Brigitte Nielsen in a black turtleneck, jeans and thigh-high boots. The show wrapped up on a glamorous note with a steady flow of draped dresses and trailing trains. Coming after a sea of baggy clothes and athleisure, it landed as a clever reminder of Demna’s talent as a dressmaker. The final look was a breathtaking nod to Cristobal Balenciaga—the dramatic white wedding gown shimmered in the sunshine like a couture piece with its voluminous body and structural collar rising just below the model’s eyes.

While it’s hard to miss Demna’s comical jabs at the superficial reality of celebrity culture, the show ultimately came across like a well-deserved acknowledgement of LA’s influence on style trends. From Ugg boots to Juicy Couture sweats, Balenciaga’s pre-fall collection makes clear connections between the paparazzi princesses of the early 2000s and the athleisure looks on high-fashion runways season after season. Demna knows all about the infamously shallow reputation of Los Angeles, but he also seems to be one of Tinseltown’s biggest fans.

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