In recent seasons, Demna’s Balenciaga has become one of the most anticipated shows of Paris Fashion Week—not just due to the collection itself, but because of the viral moments that always occur. The spring 2023 show was no exception, opening with one of the biggest celebs in a massive pit of mud. Here’s everything to know about Balenciaga’s spring 2023 show.
Kanye West and Bella Hadid Walked
Wearing an extreme take on the utilitarian jacket covered in bulky pouches of all different sizes, Kanye West opened the show and walked down the runway, eventually revealing a smirk on his face. A slew of Balenciaga muses also walked the runway, including Bella Hadid—with bleached brows.
The Theme: Mud
Guests received a wallet complete with credit cards, gym passes, and personal IDs of unknown people upon entering the show venue. But the show’s actual theme was rooted in mud—models stomped through giant pits and puddles as their leather getups and swingy silk dresses dragged across the mess of soppy stuff. According to the show notes, the set was a metaphor for digging for truth and being down to earth.
It Was True to Demna’s Ironic Takes on Fashion
Demna has repeatedly made it a mission to play with the meme-ification of fashion—from latex at the New York Stock Exchange to leather trash bags as a representation for refugees. Here, a similar sentiment was felt as soon as the show opened. In July, Kim Kardashian walked the label’s couture show along with other majority celebrities. Given Kanye’s association with the brand and the Kardashians, it felt like a meme and gimmick come to life—especially with Kanye gleefully smiling while walking through piles of mud.
With the wallet invitation, the play on identity was also there—the transformation of both gowns and casual sweats going from clean and perfect to covered in mud hinted at the idea of sharing a universal experience. The show notes riffed on every day being a battlefield when it came down to defending your unique identity—definitely perplexing, given the Balenciaga aesthetic has become an incredibly identifiable uniform in both fashion and pop culture, especially in recent seasons.
Demna recently decided to drop his last name and only go by his first name, and now it appears that he’ll no longer be explaining the theme of his collections in detail, either: “I’ve decided to no longer explain my collections and verbalize my designs, but to express a state of mind,” the show notes read. “Fashion is a visual art and all we need is for it to be seen through someone’s eyes. Fashion, in its best case scenario, should not need a story to be sold to someone. You either like it or not.” Still, with that being said, one couldn’t help but wonder whether the brand’s major selling power—and even the clothes from this very collection—would stand on their own without the hype of celebrities, indulgent sets, and extremely over-the-top shows. Promptly after the presentation, the brand deleted all its Instagram posts, as it has done in the past.
The Accessories Dominated
The collection was stocked full of Balenciaga staples, like diamanté dresses dripping in glitz, big and baggy hoodies, and oversized outerwear, but the accessories were most surprising. The final look that closed the show was a leather dress made out of Le Cagole bags. Sculptural, curly scarves in pinks and yellows bounced by. Colorful, kawaii teddy bear bags recalled Gucci’s Gremlin bags from last week, and chunky, colorful clogs and stilettos splashed by in the mud.
The Front Row Was Full of Balenciaga Muses
Kylie Jenner and Khloé Kardashian
Naomi Campbell and Alexa Demie were both front row wearing Balenciaga head-to-toe. Kylie Jenner, who has been making the rounds at Paris Fashion Week like never before, was also there, in a vivid pink fuzzy sweater dress—a highlighter yellow version of it was seen on the runway.