Balenciaga's Winter 2021 Pre-Collection Encompasses Pride and Eco-Conscious Craft

What a week for Balenciaga. The French house joined Gucci for its 100th anniversary “hacking lab”, complete with co-branded apparel and accessories, and partnered with Rammstein for a multi-faceted joint effort before debuting its Winter 2021 Pre-Collection this week, showcasing an expansive selection of co-ed garments, accessories and footwear.

Before even getting into the actual apparel, Demna Gvasalia wanted to make one thing especially clear: nearly everything in the new collection is crafted from recycled and eco-conscious textiles, aside from necessary concessions like sneaker glue, the creative director told Vogue. “When I started this collection, I said only show me sustainable fabrics,” Gvasalia said. “I don’t want to look at anything else.” This is part of the luxury house’s greater focus on reasonably sustainable production — the industry is not and never will be truly sustainable, of course, but at least according to the recent interview, Gvasalia at the very least has a dedicated interest in undercutting Balenciaga’s carbon footprint.

Otherwise, there are plenty of revamped Balenciaga signatures: enormous blazers, sporty coats, distressed denim jeans, cushy leather bags and more collaborative Vibram FiveFingers shoes. There are also a new pair of sneakers on display, a chunky dad shoe with the size printed on the toe akin to Balenciaga’s ultra-popular Triple S. Alongside heavily branded caps and Incredible Hulk-printed T-shirts, several shirts and hoodies are laden with “GAY PRIDE” verbiage in a collegiate font, perhaps a cheeky nod to the GAP logo. In particular, this graphic holds a personal meaning for Gvasalia.

“I’m gay. I grew up in a society where I couldn’t have worn that, and there are places in the world that you cannot today,” he said to Vogue. “It’s important to push through against homophobia. I’m not someone who goes out in the street and shouts. But this is the political fashion activism I can do.” No word if profits from the Pride pieces will benefit a likeminded charitable organization, though Balenciaga does have a history of working with non-profits.

Other sporty luxury labels recently showed their own Fall/Winter 2021 presentations, including the latest from Kris Van Assche’s Berluti and Li-Ning’s sneaker-centric spotlight.
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