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From the moment Demna Gvasalia took control of the house that Cristóbel Balenciaga built, the Georgia-born creative director has gone about renovating it from the inside out, while inviting a new generation to experience the founder's legacy. From its branding right through to its campaigns, it has been Demna Gvasalia for Balenciaga from the get-go, but he is continually paying homage to the Spanish luxury house's past as he edges it towards a bold new tomorrow. Against the postcard backdrops of a selection of favourite selfie-spots across the world, Balenciaga unveiled Winter 21, a complete wardrobe pre-collection of 58 largely-unisex looks that challenged traditions of casual and formal wear.
In recent seasons, his Balenciaga shows have been a reaction to the state of the world with collections that explore everything from power politics to the climate crisis, dress codes to fetishism. Winter 21 playfully continues this trend. “When I started this collection,” creative director Demna Gvasalia told Vogue back in April, “I said only show me sustainable fabrics. I don’t want to look at anything else.” So everything on display, beginning with the pink hoodie, emblazoned varsity-style with the words GAY Pride right through to the goth drama gown was crafted from recycled and otherwise certifiably conscious materials. The largely unisex offering relies on relaxed fits and easy-to-wear pieces were both meme-inspiring and discussion-igniting. If the sustainability push was behind-the-scenes soft-power, the Pride capsule collection was out front and centre.
Released just after Pride month, Demna is using his platform to celebrate LGBTQ+ communities all around the world. “I'm gay and grew up in a society where I couldn't have worn that, and there are places in the world that you cannot today," he explained. Same-sex marriage is only legal in 29 out of 195 countries – just under 15% of the world – and 69 countries still have laws that criminalise homosexuality. "It's important to push through against homophobia and I'm not someone who goes out in the street and shouts, but this is the political fashion activism I can do."
In addition to dedicating 15% of sales to support The Trevor Project – the leading suicide prevention and crisis intervention organisation for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people founded in 1998 – this political fashion activism sees a tongue-in-cheek reworking of the iconic GAP logo to GAY and delivers wardrobe essentials including a rainbow band jockstrap – what more does one need? The message is clear; there’s no room for subtly this Pride. As the capsule proudly lands online, LN-CC enlisted Ami Evelyn Hughes and Raphael Bliss to cast and shoot a counter-culture class of 2021. Inspired by Awkward Family Photos, we wanted to remove any awkwardness and truly embrace this LGBTQ-friendly family of real goths. Whatever you’re into, LN-CC celebrates and loves you all.
Art Direction Ami Evelyn Hughes,@thegoblinmilk
Photography Raphael Bliss, @raphaelbliss
Models Liam and Jack, @lmsndrsand
Jess, Hannah and Dolly, @x_hrh_x.
Sam, @samuel_____alexander 4___play.
Ant, @anttheelder. Lewis