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Balenciaga dedicates Paris Fashion Week show to ‘fearlessness and resistance’ amid war in Ukraine

All-yellow and all-blue looks closed out the show

Saman Javed
Monday 07 March 2022 14:24 GMT
Models who walked in the show struggled forward against a makeshift snow blizzard
Models who walked in the show struggled forward against a makeshift snow blizzard (Xinhua/Shutterstock)

Balenciaga has dedicated its autumn/winter 2022 fashion show to “fearlessness, resistance” and “the victory of love and peace” as Russia continues its war on Ukraine.

In a post to Instagram ahead of the Paris Fashion Week show on Sunday 6 March, Balenciaga’s creative director, Demna Gvasalia, said the conflict had triggered his own past trauma of being a refugee during the Georgian Civil War.

Gvasalia and his family were forced to flee their home country of Georgia for Düsseldorf, Germany when he was 12 years old, making him a “forever refugee”, he wrote.

“Forever, because that’s something that stays in you. The fear, the desperation, the realisation that no one wants you,” he said.

“But I also realised what really matters in life, the important things, like life itself and human love and compassion.”

Demna Gvasalia pens letter ahead of Balenciaga Fashion Show (Balenciaga/Instagram)

On Sunday 6 March, the UN high Commissioner for Refugees estimated that more than 1.5 million refugees from Ukraine have crossed into neighbouring countries in the past 10 days.

Gvasalia said Balenciaga had initially considered cancelling the show as the continuation of fashion week felt “like some kind of absurdity” while war was waging in Ukraine, but ultimately decided to dedicate the collection to “the victory of love and peace”.

“This is why working on this show this week was so incredibly hard for me. Because in a time like this, fashion loses its relevance and its actual right to exist,” he explained.

“But then I realised that cancelling this show would mean giving in, surrendering to the evil that has already hurt me so much for 30 years.

“I decided that I can no longer sacrifice parts of me to the senseless, heartless war of ego.

“This show needs no explanation. It is a dedication to fearlessness, to resistance, and to the victory of love and peace.”

This element of resistance was also seen in the staging of the show. Video footage of the models making their way around the catwalk showed them struggling forward against a makeshift snow blizzard and strong winds.

In support of Ukraine, blue and yellow T-shirts representing the Ukraine flag were laid out on the seats of every attendee. The show also finished with all-yellow and all-blue looks.

Balenciaga is not the only fashion house to show support of Ukraine during Paris Fashion Week.

Last week, Isabel Marant arrived on stage to take her post-show bow wearing Ukraine’s national yellow and blue on an oversized jumper.

The Independent has a proud history of campaigning for the rights of the most vulnerable, and we first ran our Refugees Welcome campaign during the war in Syria in 2015. Now, as we renew our campaign and launch this petition in the wake of the unfolding Ukrainian crisis, we are calling on the government to go further and faster to ensure help is delivered. To find out more about our Refugees Welcome campaign, click here. To sign the petition click here. If you would like to donate then please click here for our GoFundMe page.

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