Ever since Demna Gvasalia took over as the house’s creative director, Balenciaga has essentially become the fashion industry’s biggest (and most beloved) troll. Over the past few years, the house has sold a shopping bag for a mind-bending $1,100; revamped its Instagram account so thoroughly that questions like “What is this?” and “Did someone hack Balenciaga’s IG account?” frequently stud the comments sections; and put its own spin on the CGI influencer campaign trend by adding a dose of torture.
Consider yourself warned: Now that Gvasalia’s left his post at Vetements, he just might take things even further up a notch. In any case, he’s definitely still up to his usual tricks; the same week that he announced his departure, Gvasalia also opened Balenciaga’s New York flagship store on Madison Avenue, which explores his interest in the concept of a public domain. Thanks to all the glass, then, even passersby can appreciate the store’s most defining feature: its hyperrealistic mannequins, which are made from 3D scans of real-life Balenciaga models. Essentially, it’s Gucci’s practice of recreating models’ (and Jared Leto’s) heads times 10.
Even more eerily, the “models” are wearing the same ensemble that their real-life counterparts wore in the fall/winter 2019 Balenciaga show. Take, for example, the man wearing sunglasses below:
This isn’t the first time that Balenciaga’s in-store mannequins (which, contrary to the video above, aren’t actually made of wax) have turned heads. The house has previously turned to the artist Mark Jenkins for a series of sculptures that were just as unsettling; one in particular, wearing orange heeled boots and a black leather trench coat from resort 2019, hunched over a book in isolation near the store window, proved especially popular.