Music and fashion go hand in hand. Style has historically been born out of musical subcultures, just think of style icons such as Mick Jagger. Following over a year of digital fashion shows, and an increasingly crowded market, fashion brands are finding new ways to communicate with their audiences and expand their universes, with music becoming a prime target.
Last September, Balenciaga teamed up with Apple Music. Gvasalia's playlist Hello My Name is Demna, which featured the sounds of Sade and Kanye West, launched the brand's role as a curator on the platform. Moving forwards, the brand will be inviting artists to create original playlists, and next up is the German industrial metal band Rammstein. Heavy metal meets Balenciaga may at first seem like chalk and cheese, but in Gvsalia's world, it's a match made in heaven.
Since Gvasalia arrived at Balenciaga in 2015, he's opened up the storied world of Balenciaga to a whole new host of subcultures and obsessions, translating the house founder's real world sensibilities into the 21st century. (For instance, during the Nazi Occupation in Paris women took to bicycles in the absence of petrol and in response Balenciaga designed a cycling outfit for them with detachable skirts.)
The political and satirical sense of humour Gvasalia is renowned for, has translated well to an internet audience, particularly when reviving Balenciaga's archives for the masses. He appropriates everyday fashion items, such as the floral tea dress, the DHL worker's jacket or the humble pair of jeans. Ignore the price tag and you'll find that Gvasalia is anything but exclusive. He values the subcultures from which style is born, and season upon season, plays on them through the lens of Balenciaga. In this light, to engage with his audience on a personal level via curated playlists seems only natural.
Gvasalia said in a statement of the new project, 'The Balenciaga x Apple Music playlists will be by some of my favourite music artists, each of whom I have personally selected. These playlists will represent their personal tastes and influences, giving insight into what they listen to in their own lives.' The success of Gvsalia's Balenciaga lies in connecting with a consumer at a personal level, and the new playlists will allow for him to explore this even further, outside of the realms of fashion design itself. Notably, sound designer Arman Nafée told the Business of Fashion, 'For fashion brands, creating a sonic strategy that’s less fad-like and more deeply rooted in their core values is a powerful way to connect with consumers, from their shows to their stores to streaming audio content that is becoming a bigger part of our lives.'
That's not to say there won't be any clothes involved. The release of the playlist on April 14, will be accompanied by a capsule of clothes made in the style of tour merchandise, featuring the band's logo alongside an outtake from an iconic photo shoot by Gottfried Helnwein, which has been captured on three diehard Rammstein fans. Captured in their homes, they're surrounded by their material objects of devotion to the band.
From t-shirts and hoodies to ripped, worn caps and bags, the capsule presents the perfect uniform for when we can return to music venues, and head directly into the mosh-pit, Balenciaga style.