Kim Kardashian, Nicole Kidman, Christine Quinn and Dua Lipa walk into a couture salon... Nope, not an insider-y spin on a classic joke set-up: At Balenciaga's haute couture show in Paris on Wednesday, a cast of famous faces joined the cast of models — which also included Bella Hadid and Naomi Campbell — and made their way down the runway.
It's an old trick, sure, but this particular example of stunt casting isn't exactly random. Kardashian's currently the face of the brand, Kidman's worn Balenciaga on the red carpet for years and Quinn's sat in its front row. There's also a precedent here: Balenciaga's Spring 2022 ready-to-wear outing married the red carpet with the runway, with celebrities posing on the step-and-repeat in looks from the new collection alongside attendees simply making their way to their seats. Plus, Demna Gvasalia loves a tongue-in-cheek, pop-meets-high-fashion moment. (And of course, the front row was no less stacked, with Kris Jenner, North West, Tracee Ellis Ross, Michelle Yeoh, Alexa Demie, Keith Urban, Offset and more.)
The Fall 2022 collection opened with a parade of all-black looks: gloved bodysuits, suits, long-sleeved dresses and gowns all made from the same material and paired with face shields. A silver crystal-netted gown moved the offering forward, making way for a pair of all-over tinsel looks and a colorful structured tweed series that introduced some of the more casual pieces: denim, separates, outerwear.
When the face shields came off, the eveningwear began: minimal sleeveless dresses styled with elbow-length gloves, formfitting liquid velvet turtlenecks tucked into high-waist trousers, red and pink gowns with architectural details along the back. That's also when Quinn appeared in a sequined halter mini dress with a floor-sweeping train, Lipa modeled a one-shoulder yellow number, Hadid wore an emerald green strapless gown, Kardashian donned a sweetheart-neckline gloved top and skirt, Kidman appeared in a draped silver metallic style and Campbell walked in a voluminous black skirt that took up the entire runway.
This is Gvasalia's second haute couture showing for Balenciaga, since the luxury fashion house revived the business under his leadership last year. It's investing heavily in the category, though, announcing a new store in Paris dedicated to its highest offering and to products crafted with those same principles.
"It's important for us because Balenciaga's heritage and savoir-faire are French, and the rules of couture are clear," Cédric Charbit, the brand's CEO, told Vogue Business. "Even when products don't require several fittings, they are made in our ateliers, in the respect of the French couture tradition."
Balenciaga's couture customer, Charbit told Vogue Business, is, on average, 30 to 35 years old — a similar age range to what the brand sees at its retail locations — and "from everywhere in the world." He said they're "looking for more Balenciaga, more experience, extreme rarity, with no price limit and without constraints in terms of imagination... works bought to be worn, to be collected. There's less connection to functionality with a product than in retail."
See all the looks in the Balenciaga Haute Couture Fall 2022 collection in the gallery below.