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Balenciaga Takes a Trip Through the Gucci 'Hacking Lab'

And Demna Gvasalia takes another crack at Crocs.

Back in April, with the debut of the Gucci Aria collection, designer Alessandro Michele introduced what he called his "hacking lab," in which he "plundered the nonconformist rigour of Demna Gvasalia."

Well, in fashion, turnabout is always fair play, and now its Gvasalia's turn to do some plundering of his own. On Sunday, the designer's Spring 2022 collection for Balenciaga hit the virtual runway — with some rather uncanny deep-fake work, as director Quentin Deronzier subbed in artist and longtime Balenciaga model Eliza Douglas's face for every single look — and a handful of the exits featured plays on the Gucci logo. Gvasalia took the signature double-G monogram and swapped out it for double-Bs on everything from bags to belts. (He played with other logos, too: A hoodie with "BéBé" spelled out in rhinestones fulfills all your early-aughts throwback needs.) This take on the "hacking lab" comes complete with Gvasalia's dry wit; a limited-edition series of bags say "This Is Not a Gucci Bag" — because they're not, but they also are, like René Magritte's pipe...get it?

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Oh, and elsewhere in collaborations, Crocs are back on the Balenciaga runway for Spring 2022, this time taking the form of boots and, most hauntingly, a stiletto pump style. Looking forward to seeing how the street style set works that one into their wardrobes next year. 

But, as was the case with Gucci, the most interesting ideas of the collection didn't emerge from the hacking lab. Gvasalia opened the show with a mourning look — a nod to the house's post-apocalyptic Fall 2020 show, which was the last to have a real-life audience — and closed with a red stretch-velvet gown paying homage to the iconic drag queen Divine. In between were more Gvasalia witticisms, like a hoodie with the image space x-ed out and "Your Ad Here" scrawled underneath (particularly cheeky from a designer who has made a career out ofcreating must-have logo-fied items), another with a print of the Simpsons in Balenciaga silhouettes, and a third which merely says "No Comment" — it "speaks for itself in its meaning," according to the show notes. 

See the complete Balenciaga Spring 2022 collection in the gallery below:

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