Balenciaga is always disruptive and innovative. Its creations continue to shock once again, proving that one man’s trash, is quite literally, another man’s treasure. Creative Director Demna Gvasalia is generating free organic buzz with his latest offering – the Trash Pouch, inspired by the simple garbage bag.
Balenciaga presented the Trash Pouch to us at its Winter 2022 show; taking place in a snow globe of a not-so-distant future. Windswept models, struggling against an unforgiving climate are seen clutching oversized leather trash bags.
This image for Demna revealed a kind of found poetry. With status as a refugee, Demna was forced from his home in Sukhumi, taking what he could carry in disposable bags.
The show, the snow, the trash bags thus, echoed tribute to refugees fleeing war ridden Ukraine.
“The war in the Ukraine has triggered the pain of a past trauma I have carried in me since 1993, when the same thing happened to my home country and I became a forever refugee.” Said Demna.
Whilst the Maison is synonymous with opinion-dividing garments, it’s important to remember that fashion isn’t random and that Demna isn’t a troll but rather, an artist. For Demna, “fashion is a mirror, a reflection of what’s going on around us”.
Perceiving the Trash Pouch beyond what we can objectively see creates an understanding of fashion as a form of artistic mediation, inserting the designer’s voice into a larger dialogue, intervening with the forces of social or political events.
It seems that the idea is to maintain status is via a myriad of symbols which produce exclusivity, the very exclusivity luxury fashion consumers are fans of. As such, very exclusive pieces like the Trash Pouch can be valued as pieces of art in the future.
A scandal no doubt is what the brand has inevitably concocted with its latest controversial offering. Available in black, white or blue colour iterations, the bag will retail for $2,557 AUD.
“I couldn’t miss an opportunity to make the most expensive trash bag in the world because who doesn’t love a fashion scandal?” Denma said, at the premiere of Balenciaga’s winter collection.
With the internet in an uproar, one netizen writes: “If you can afford to spend $1,790 on a #Balenciaga fashion accessory that looks like a trash bag, you should have enough cash in the bank to fill it up with cash and donate it to your nearest charity.”
It seems that the fashion house as a whole exists to shock, the bag paralleling the angered sentiments of many at the release of their Paris Sneakers earlier this year.
However, for Balenciaga, it isn’t about producing a fashion trend. But rather, the construction of a garment or accessory informed by an appropriated art logic. Whilst the launch of its Trash Pouch, and like other releases before it, has generated a great deal of media controversy, it is undeniable that whilst it may upset many, it will please many more.
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