Hyper-real mannequins stare from Balenciaga’s Sloane Street store in London
Last month, Balenciaga poured smoking asphalt onto the catwalk of its A/W 2019 show in Paris. The brand was inspired by the visage of the people that pound its home city’s streets. But Balenciaga is also looking to London’s topography too. Last year, the label opened boutiques in Miami Design District and on Via Monte Napoleone in Milan, and now it has set up shop on Sloane Street in Knightsbridge.
There’s an industrial élan behind the stark two-storey space, which is swathed in carpet, tessellated with a shaved imprint of the Balceniaga logo. Fixtures come courtesy of gray scale furniture and metal shelves, which have a severe, utilitarian touch. LED bars and ceiling panel lamps illuminate the space.
Creative director Demna Gvasalia has been pushing the boundaries of how Balenciaga’s collections are presented on models and mannequins. For S/S 2019, he explored the role of CGI models in digital advertising today, working with digital artist Yilmaz Sen on a series of films which feature computerised models, clad in sculptural coats and Knife sock boots, with distorted bodies. For the brand’s Sloane Street store, hyper-real mannequins (based on models Eliza Douglas and Takato Harashima) stare from the boutique’s floor-to-ceiling windows. They’re sure to entice Balenciaga shoppers into the vitrine-like space too. §