Nov 21, 2023
Balenciaga has invented ‘ready-for-music-wear’. The Parisian luxury label owned by Kering, with Demna (full name Demna Gvasalia) in charge of style, is often at the cutting edge of new trends, and has dreamed up a new project at the intersection between fashion, music and digital tech, in collaboration with British trip-hop band Archive.
Balenciaga has launched a limited-edition capsule collection of music merchandise, featuring a hoodie and two t-shirt models, long and short-sleeved, priced respectively at €990, €695 and €595, available on the label’s e-shop and at select stores worldwide.
The items come in Balenciaga’s signature iconography in black and white colourways, and are decorated with a large stylised ‘A’ in white or red on the front, while Archive’s complete discography is printed on the back. The garments in the Balenciaga Music|Archive collection are equipped with a near-field communication (NFC) chip sewn into the label. Wearers can scan the chip with a smartphone and access Archive’s music, specifically ‘Patterns’, an eight and a half-minute track created exclusively for Balenciaga by the band, as well as a seven-hour-long playlist also especially put together for this project.
In a press release, Balenciaga noted that it is the first time that Archive, which has released 12 albums in its 28-year history, has associated with a fashion label. “Balenciaga has always stood for individuality and innovation, qualities that we’ve always tried to keep at the heart of Archive’s creative process too. So, when the opportunity came along to collaborate on this exciting project, it seemed like a perfect fit. I think the track we’ve created is something very special,” said Archive founding member Darius Keeler.
Balenciaga said that “it had never featured music in one of its products,” and that the drop is part of the Balenciaga Music project launched in 2020, allowing the label’s customers to discover the musical inspirations behind its collections. Balenciaga fans can access playlists compiled under the aegis of Demna and artists like Jay-Jay Johanson, Pink Martini and Aya Nakamura, to mention the latest collaborations, often matched with capsule collections of music merch.
“Balenciaga Music was created to share my favourite musical artists and their personal tastes and influences. We have now expanded this project to give a more personal and complete music experience with exclusive content and interactive technology,” said Demna in the press release, adding that “music is a big part of my life, and is an integral part of Balenciaga’s culture.”
Balenciaga has recently opened new stores throughout the world, notably in Taipei, Mexico and India. It has also snapped up a 290-square-metre retail space in the heart of Milan, in the prestigious Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. Balenciaga will pay the city of Milan an annual rent of €2.5 million, one of the highest in the shopping arcade linking up the Duomo cathedral to the La Scala opera house.
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