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Paris Fashion Week Saw Balenciaga’s Creative Response to Climate Change, Virtual Reality, and the Ukraine-Russia Crisis

Photo: CNN

One of Paris Fashion Week most awaited collections, Balenciaga, used its platform to deliver a meaningful message. In a dramatic show, the brand’s creative director Demna paid tribute to Ukrainians. 

For the designer, the crisis in eastern Europe, where over 1.5 million civilians have escaped the country, is heartbreaking and personally relatable. 

History of Demna

Born in Sukhumi, Georgia, Demna experienced a fight unfolding before his eyes during the civil war in the early 1990s. The designer and his family includes in tens of thousands of individuals that ran away Sukhumi in the middle of the crisis in the region of Abkhazia, which Russia views as an independent country even with its international recognition as part of Georgia. 

In a note handed out to visitors attending the label’s Fall-Winter 2022 event, he wrote: “The war in Ukraine had triggered the pain of a past trauma I have carried in me since 1993. It was when the same thing happened to my home country, and I became a forever refugee.” 

The designer delivered a poem by Oleksandr Oles in Ukrainian at a touching juncture. Unfortunately, he offered no translation to guests as Denma purposely wants to give its all-embracing message of strength to comprehend  those who understand it. In another significant move, Ukrainian flags were hung on guests’ chairs. 

Models walked through made-up snow and strong wind, with a few carrying large leather trash pouches. 

Paris Fashion Week – Crisis in Ukraine

Even though the collection was working out before the crisis in Ukraine happened. It was difficult not to connect them. In an interview backstage, Demna told reporters that the set and staging displays what he had to go through during the conflict. He also told about the displacement some 30 years previously.

Demna pointed out that the extremity of the set initially dedicates to climate change. And how global warming may cause snow to be artificially made in the future. A glass wall split the area for the guests from the circular set, making an IRL live stream effect.

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