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We will begin at the end. The finale piece, the wedding dress, made from 47 metres of black nylon that had been choreographed onto the body by the atelier and destined to be worn only once. We do love Demna’s thinking. Today’s collection was a challenge, an exploration of the ephemeral and permanent. The butterfly effect.

But back to the beginning and the audience, including house ambassador Nicole Kidman accompanied by her daughter Sunday; and Miranda Priestly (aka Alexis Stone) leaning in as the soundtrack invited us all into a meditation. Deep breath in, deep breath out.

Here was a path to happiness with Demna’s subcultural dress codes – metalhead, skater, goth – melded with Cristobal Balenciaga codes: three-quarter sleeves, cocoon shapes, exaggerated outlines, and eccentric headwear. And exhale.

Balenciaga’s commitment to innovation and sustainability is part of what’s redefining the future and relevance of fashion right now and the upcycled pieces including jackets, worn around the hips segueing into trousers were clever. This play on reconstruction produced a lineup of some seriously sculpted and “twisted” gowns too.

All was not as it seemed – a “flannel” shirt was not just a flannel shirt, but crafted from silk tuffetage embroidery; a faux fur coat was constructed from synthetic hair that took two and a half months to create. A rustling white dress was made from melted upcycled plastic bags and moulded to the body. The layered language of the streetwear was tempered by the gowns, all body-con and gothic. These are the kind of tools and materials that Demna’s uncompromising vision has brought to the house.

The collection also featured intricate beadwork and embroidery that showcased the artisans’ meticulous craftsmanship. The butterfly veils or masks featured hundreds of hours of hand-embroidery and were inspired by the artist Yumi Okita. The butterfly is a symbol of transformation and Demna’s voice is uniquely transformative. This is what genius looks like.

Photography courtesy of Balenciaga.