Under the Rain: Balenciaga Spring 2025

Demna presented his spring outing in Shanghai, his first show in China. The collection included an array of oversized tailoring, trompe-l-œil bags, larger-than-life platform sneakers, upcycled ball gowns and two unexpected collaborations with Alipay and Under Armour.
Everybody knows that China is an important market for European luxury brands. Despite a massive slowdown in luxury consumption worldwide, Asian customers still actively invest in clothing and beautiful things. And a lot of Demna’s avid fans and collectors reside here. So the designer has been thinking about a show in Shanghai for a few years, and finally, the moon, the Earth and the stars aligned. Even the pouring rain could not stop Balenciaga from making a moment at the Museum of Art Pudong’s granite walkway, designed by the French architect Jean Nouvel. More than that, the rain gave the outing its epic mood.

While the guests were seated under black umbrellas, the models marched on the catwalk alongside the Huangpu River in oversized jackets, trenches and hourglass overcoats. The dominant colour was punkish black, but there were also hints of grey, emerald and beige. This time, Balenciaga presented two unexpected collaborations. With Alipay, China's main mobile paying system; its logo graced a limited edition oversized black t-shirt, Demna’s hardcore fans will be struggling to get their hands on it as it will only be available in Mainland China. And another one with American sportswear giant Under Armour. A limited selection of zip-up hoodies, tracksuits, belts, baseball caps, logo earrings and shorts from the newly debuted collaboration is already exclusively available in selected stores and online.

Womenswear included magnificent silk shirt-dresses with various eye-catching motifs, styled with white socks and black sandals, or pointy boots. There was also a powerful mini red dress, extralarge office shirts, turtlenecks, maxi skirts and a proposal of signature outerwear - leather trenches, shearling and faux fur coats.

Inspired by Shanghai’s staggering sky-scrappers, the lace-up platform “Giant Boots” will definitely become an Internet sensation (Demna himself now wears them all the time, and says it’s both stylish and practical especially if you love going to concerts but hate fighting for the closest space in front of your favourite singer). So will the news extra large platform sneakers (the platform is 16cm high!). There were also trompe-l-œil shoe box clutches - crafted out of the finest leather with magnetic closure - and shoppers that looked like actual trenches, puffer jackets, button-up shirts and overcoats, turning wardrobe signatures into luggage.    

The show ended with a selection of couture ball gowns, made of upcycled materials. Think a pink fluffy dress hand-crafted from a bunch of decade-old plastic bags, cut and then attached with a wire to give an impression of feathers (inspired by a 1965 archive Balenciaga gown made out of real ostrich feathers) or a gold dress crafted from gift foil packaging.

And when the show ended, the downpour stopped as well. As if the pouring rain in front of Shanghai’s jaw-dropping skyline was also a part of Demna’s master plan.

Courtesy: Balenciaga

Text: Lidia Ageeva