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Why dystopia-core is finding space on the runway

From Balenciaga to Jean Paul Gaultier, designers are telling how the present times are making them feel 

Many high luxury labels indulged in futuristic designs at the recently concluded Parish fashion week, including Balenciaga (Instagram/Balenciaga )

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A global pandemic, increasing global temperature, a war—we are living in a post apocalyptic-like atmosphere.

And it seems the fashion world is dealing with this reality by translating their emotions into garments that shout dystopia-core, a trend of taking grunge and goth dressing to another level. It was all on display during the recently concluded Paris haute couture fashion week.  

Also Read: Giambattista Valli goes big with haute couture outing in Paris

Many high luxury labels indulged in futuristic designs, which had hints of defiance. Use of neoprene, metallic fabrics, faux leather, VR-inspired glasses, all with minimalist touches, reflected what fashion houses felt: being cheerful, wearing colourful clothes, is not so cool, because it is not in sync with the world we are living in. Let's look at some of the showcases that were part of the Paris fashion week. 

Balenciaga

Otherworldly looks have become the norm at Balenciaga. For the Paris show, creative director Demna Gvasalia collaborated with Japanese manufacturers to create sustainable neoprene looks. The fabric exuded a rubber-like visual, looking like second skin. With face covering glass shields, space boots and acoustic glove speaker bags, the runway models appeared like an army of a futuristic AI models.

Otherworldly looks have become the norm at Balenciaga.
Otherworldly looks have become the norm at Balenciaga. (Instagram/Balenciaga)

Jean Paul Gaultier

Olivier Rousteing's showcase for Jean Paul Gaultier was an ode to the maison and fuelled by pop culture references. The collection was built with the use of intricate craftsmanship and life-size glass corsetry. Metallic elements were curated to create futuristic outfits. 

Model presents creation for the Jean Paul Gaultier showcase at the Paris fashion Week. 
Model presents creation for the Jean Paul Gaultier showcase at the Paris fashion Week.  (Instagram/Jean Paul Gaultier )

Loewe

In a carefully choreographed showcase, the Loewe display at the Paris fashion week was a physical experience of the metaverse.  Loewe combined natural elements with tech relics—plants and living greens sprouted out of trousers, tracksuit bottoms and shoes. The label creative head Jonathan Anderson worked with Spanish bio-designer Paula Ulargui Escalona, who has been experimenting with live plants growing on fabrics, to create the collection. 

Model presents creation during the Loewe spring/summer menswear collection at the Paris Fashion Week 
Model presents creation during the Loewe spring/summer menswear collection at the Paris Fashion Week  (Instagram/ Loewe )

Rick Owens

Presented at the historical sight of Palais De Tokyo, Rick Owens presented a lineup of futuristic outfits. Avant-garde looks, featuring The Matrix-inspired glasses, monochromatic looks, paper-thin inventive fabrics and asymmetrical silhouettes dominated the collection. The play of contrast was Owens' interpretation of the dystopia of our times.

A model presents a creation during the Rick Owens Menswear Spring/Summer 2023 show,
A model presents a creation during the Rick Owens Menswear Spring/Summer 2023 show, (AFP)

Also Read: Yes, warcore fashion is a thing and it's a hit in Ukraine

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