NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MAY 22: Simi Khadra, Fai Khadra and Haze Khadra attend Balenciaga Spring 2023 at the New York Stock Exchange on May 22, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
SNEAKERS & FASHION

Balenciaga’s Stock Soars

With the official unveiling of the Balenciaga x adidas collaboration during their Spring 2023 show on the NYSE Floor, creative director Demna attempts to democratize fashion’s free market, as the luxury brand begins to accept cryptocurrency payments.

Over the weekend, Balenciaga hosted its Spring 2023 fashion show, unveiling their latest collection on the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange. The emblematic move arrives on the heels of rising inflation around the country and a seventh straight week of a falling Dow Jones.

The event invitations were printed on stacked Balenciaga-branded $100 bills and read “This invitation is for personal use only and is not tender.” As an extra touch, the dollars were said to have been imbued with a distinct smell courtesy of artist and researcher Sissel Tolaas.

Seemingly, this also tracks as a symbolic gesture showcasing Balenciaga’s intentions to continue to push towards the future of fashion and tech, accepting payments in cryptocurrency starting next month, according to a WSJ report.

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Balenciaga will initially permit payment only in Bitcoin or Ethereum, the two largest cryptocurrencies by market share, but the luxury brand has plans to expand the program to other coins as well as subsequently designing a long-term metaverse business strategy, too.

The storied French House, headed by the eclectic and provocateur creative director Demna, has seen a resurgence of popularity and interest over the last few years due to its keen ability to reinterpret American pop culture through the lens of fashion commentary and digital media.

It’s also helped that Demna has worked closely with Ye on YEEZY Gap Balenciaga and the Donda album(s) rollout, as well as frequently dressing Kim Kardashian as his muse over the last year. Not to mention, Justin Bieber was introduced as a Balenciaga face last summer.

Demna’s unique lens for observing the contemporary zeitgeist and spitting out new design language and wearable mixed media (like when he made a mini-episode of The Simpsons) across ready-to-wear — cc: The Vetements days — and haute couture is exactly the reason the show found everyone from Frank Ocean, Pharrell, J Balvin, Megan Thee Stallion and Offset to Anna Wintour, Chloë Sevigny, Alexa Demie, Pusha T and Mayor Eric Adams in attendance.

The show began with the ringing of the NYSE opening bell. Models hit the stage with a myriad of 63 runway looks — containing everything from blacked-out, skin-tight latex, washed denim, tailored suits and overcoats to the all-new Garde-Robe line, kinky facemasks, clown shoes — and of course, the much-anticipated Adidas collaboration.

Adidas’ leap into high fashion waters continues (earlier this year they delivered their Gucci collaboration for its F/W ’22 collection) as the sportswear label’s Balenci collab comes through in the form of three stripes via suiting and sweats, while the “trefoil emblem” sits atop a lowercase “balenciaga” on T-shirts and colorfully-bright bathrobe coats.

The collection features menswear and womenswear in the form of baggy tracksuits, oversized bomber jackets, soccer jerseys, artisanal denim and bags — including backpacks, duffle bags, and top handle bags. The Adidas Triple S Sneaker is a standout as well — available in two colorways, one referencing the sportswear giant’s signature shoebox and the other a classic black/white colorway. There’s even a giant tee emblazoned with the official NYSE logo.

Whether the presentation was a socio-political statement — or non-statement — part of a larger cultural conversation is up for debate but what’s clear is that Demna’s itch for constantly challenging the status quo — both overtly and subversively — remains unscratched.

And regardless, it did indeed look cool. And something we won’t forget soon.

Immediately following the show, the Balenciaga x adidas collaboration went live (in select quantity pieces), exclusively on Balenciaga’s website, in addition to being sold in-store at the brand’s NYC Madison Avenue store.

If there’s one thing Demna showed us on the NYSE Floor this past Sunday, it’s that time and money wait on no man.

Capitalism strikes again. But, so does Balenciaga.

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