Balenciaga S/S20: Where Duran Duran Meets Corporate Office-Wear

Heji Shin and Jacob K capture the S/S20 Balenciaga collection, which saw politicians’ attire and corporate office-wear reimagined in outlandishly-oversized proportions – with the vibe of a giddy pop video from the 80s

This article is taken from the Summer/Autumn 2020 issue of Another Man:

During an interview 35 years ago, Andy Warhol revealed he liked to masturbate while watching Duran Duran’s music videos. Who can blame him? They were hot. And these lads from Birmingham loved fashion as much as the always-stylish NYC Pop Art king. Duran Duran memorably collaborated with the legendary designer, Antony Price, who during the previous decade radically styled and outfitted the glam rock pioneers, Roxy Music. For Duran Duran, he created vibrant-coloured, power-shouldered suits, which they of course wore while pouting on a yacht and prancing across a Brazilian beach, in the video for the 1982 hit single Rio. The look unashamedly projected glamour, travel, sex, aspiration and optimism. The boys came across as slightly girly yet nonetheless spunky.

After Warhol died, in February 1987, and the US stock market crashed in October of the same year – causing economic meltdowns around the world and echoing the Great Depression of 1929 – the tide turned against over-styled 80s excess. Acid house and grunge surged in popularity throughout the UK and US. Raving or moshing usurped posing. Shoulder pads, designer suits and too much hair gel now felt naff. Dressing down was in. Even hunky models, who had routinely dominated magazine fashion spreads in The Face, SKY and Arena, were elbowed aside by a new wave of scruffy male waifs. The emphasis had dramatically shifted from artifice to real.

Reality nowadays is a confusion of fantasy, relatability, LOLS, trolls, WTFs, the fake, the absurd, the authentic, all at once. The most clued-up fashion designers understand this – offering an escapist, Instagram-worthy spectacle upon the runway, even if this was actually inspired by some serious IRL stuff. Politicians’ attire and corporate office-wear have never been deemed cool or sexy yet were key references for Balenciaga’s S/S20 collection, subsequently reimagined in outlandishly oversized proportions. Guess what? When these slightly freaky yet perfectly wearable designs are transposed onto attractive male models, it is neither dour politics nor a dreary nine-to-five job that springs to mind, but the vibe of a giddy pop video from the 80s. If only Andy was still around, to confirm whether it warrants a wank.

HAIR Shon Hyungsun Ju at The Wall Group MAKE UP Janeen Witherspoon at Bryant Artist using Boy de Chanel SET DESIGN Suzanne Beirne at D&V Management CASTING Jess Hallett at Streeters MODELS Darren Cabenda and Zach Hartman at Nevs, Victor Perr at Premier Models PHOTOGRAPHIC ASSISTANT Klaus Blumenrath LIGHTING Gareth Horton STYLING ASSISTANT Ioana Ivan SET DESIGN ASSISTANT Joe Winter PRODUCTION theArcade production SPECIAL THANKS Concrete Rep

The Summer/Autumn 2020 ‘High Art Pop Culture’ issue of Another Man is now on sale internationally. Head here to buy a copy.