Balenciaga Feels the Bern for Fall 2017
It's ironic that Bernie Sanders — millennials' poster child for fighting economic and wealth inequality — inspired the French luxury label.
Leave it to Balenciaga's creative director, Demna Gvasalia, to draw from the masses.
At the designer's Paris menswear show on Wednesday, models paraded "Balenciaga" shawls, coats and even manicures that may have looked familiar to those who were "feelin' the Bern" last year.
The pieces were created in the same style as Bernie Sanders' blue campaign logo, with "Bernie 2016" replaced by "Balenciaga 2017." (Gvasalia added a third swoosh underline and placed "2017" off-center, whereas Sanders' logo only had two underlines and the "2016" was centered.)
The average price of a Balenciaga men's T-shirt is $275, and a scarf will set you back $1,015, while an official Sanders T-shirt emblazoned with his 2016 presidential campaign logo is roughly $25. "Let us wage a moral and political war against the gross wealth and income inequality," said Sanders during his campaign last year. "A nation will not survive morally or economically when so few have so much while so many have so little."
But that's not all that Gvasalia borrowed from Bernie. The collection also featured some less obvious nods to the 75-year-old presidential hopeful from Vermont, including oversize, loose-fitting suits (a staple for all Bernie impersonators — just ask Larry David) as well as "dad-style" pieces, including ugly-on-purpose sneakers and chunky ties that were all the rage circa Father's Day 2002.
Of course, the irony of a brand like Balenciaga — whose prices are at the high end of the luxury market — doing an upscale version of campaign merch that was originally available for under $25 is one of Gvasalia's signatures and one of the reasons that Vetements, the brand he launched with his brother Guram in 2014, gained such a cult following. In July of last year, Vetements debuted a collection featuring 18 collaborations, including a handful of egalitarian brands like Levis, Champion and Carhartt — the latter of which is a Michigan-based company that makes coveralls for farmers and factory workers. A Vetements x Carhartt shirt goes for $1,085, while Vetements x Champion sweatshirts range between $660 and $990.
Sanders has yet to comment on the appropriation of working-class lifestyle by the luxury market.