Balenciaga has been rethinking the unsustainable pace of fashion. The luxury house has been looking at how it can progressively evolve the way in which it presents its collections to the post-pandemic world. Balenciaga isn’t of course alone in challenging a system steeped in tradition which relies on a fixed and ecologically wasteful number of collections, and shows that are increasingly out-of-touch with the consumer habits of a young global audience.
Now the marque has said it will show just four key ready-to-wear gender-inclusive collections with a separate haute couture line annually. What’s probably more exciting is that starting with the autumn/winter 2021 collection, the shows will be performed to an exclusive list in digital format and through virtual runways via headsets, while animated and interactive video games will aim for a wider audience.
The first of the series was revealed over the weekend. ‘Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow’ is an augmented-reality interactive video game set in an imaginary 2031, with Balenciaga’s avatars wearing designs made from upcycled materials and created through advanced techniques to signify fashion as enduring and sustainable. And they are driving Polestar’s visionary concept vehicles.
See the full story here and take a look at Afterworld here.
The Urban Mobility Vehicle hovers somewhere between a motorbike and a conventional car. It is agile like a two-wheeler, but with the comfort and safety of four wheels. the UMV runs on electricity has a much smaller footprint than a standard city car and is around 34% more energy efficient than your average electric vehicle. Plus, it is designed as a premium product by former creatives from Pininfarina. Possibly even more exciting is the brand behind this inaugural product, Komma. See my interview with the creative team leading this new Swiss start-up setting out to rethink our future cities here.
Project Geländewagen is a fictionalised G-Wagen/G-Class racecar, stripped of all clichés of opulence. This experimental project is the collaborative work of the Mercedes-Benz creative chief Gorden Wagener and Louis Vuitton’s menswear artistic director and founder of fashion label Off-White Virgil Abloh. The product they have imagined together is the antithesis of the polished and flawless world of luxury to offer an alternative approach.
Intrigued by the possibilities of injecting a little of the theatre of fashion to the more subdued world of motoring, I set up a remote interview with the two creative directors to see how the ideas expressed here could potentially entertain the future of Mercedes cars. I also asked what the lessons they may have learned from this pandemic and the approaching climate crisis.
Rolls-Royce is calling it post-opulence. Bannenberg & Rowell say it is post-hedonism. Is luxury about to enter a new age? The reality is with almost any product or experience casually labelled ‘luxury’, the concept no longer holds any special value.
Today, luxury is more than often brash, vulgar, and a mirror of the less tasteful side of our cultures. It is time to reclaim the word and make it relevant to the post-coronavirus era.
Adirondack Guideboat is a heritage company based in Vermont, New England in the US, where brothers Justin and Ian Martin craft rowing boats from sustainable cedar wood and lightweight fibreglass using artisan skills that honour the classic design passed down some 150 years.
As this global pandemic’s devastating impact on our world brings on a lively focus on the promise of life, and of the beauty of nature – personally, I wish I was rowing one of these crafts…