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A Fashion Presentation That Doubles As a Video Game

By Joe Tan

Balenciaga

Alternative to the usual proceedings of runways or press presentations for the fashion seasons as of late — that have been indefinitely on hold, luxury labels have gained noticeable momentum when it comes to exploring novel ways to showcase their latest offerings remotely. From Loewe comes a multi-sensorial box of curated paper trinkets, offering insight on Jonathan Anderson’s latest inspiration with a dose of interactive fun. Elsewhere, Gucci launches a series of peculiar short films as part of its “GucciFest” campaign, that showcases the maison’s latest “Ouverture of Something that Never Ended” collection as worn by a varied cast of characters. However, if these new presentations are meant to not only establish a focused engagement with audiences for extended periods of time but also to inspire a social media viral frenzy, then it’s likely that Balenciaga’s attempt will take the cake, with the launch of an upcoming video game that will feature its yet-to-be-seen Fall ’21 collection.

Billed as a “record-breaking” game set in the near future, this Balenciaga exclusive gameplay coined “Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow,” will follow a playable protagonist’s adventure through “mythological pasts and projected futures.” At the end of it, the winning player will be rewarded with a breathing exercise that will be guided in an otherworldly virtual landscape, and an overview of the luxury label’s latest offerings. In a press statement, Balenciaga announces, “A theme of Balenciaga Fall 2021 is human destiny, as seen by an interactive, gamified journey. The world may appear to be decaying at first, but it is far from a dystopian view, showing instead the slow return to a healthier balance of nature and industry.” 

But whether this latest move by Balenciaga, helmed by the inimitable and divisive Demna Gvasalia, is genius or a gimmick is another matter altogether, because what better way for one to escape present day’s grim reality — if only for a moment — than to go on a journey through the digital world? Trailing on today’s increasingly egalitarian values, everyone and anyone will likely find it very agreeable too, to have the opportunity to don the latest drops by Balenciaga sans the hefty price tags. Consider us all aboard.

The Balenciaga “Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow” video game launches 6 December 2020.