It would be remiss of me to talk about Balenciaga without referencing the moment in February 2023 when creative director Demna declared—after months of dealing with a duo of controversial campaigns—that he was "to go back to my roots in fashion as well as to the roots of Balenciaga, which is making quality clothes—not making image or buzz." The quote (taken from an interview with Vogue) has been brought up many times since, cropping up after every runway show or collection drop.

Demna may have jumped the gun, and it's rather understandable. In the hopes of quelling the heat surrounding the campaigns, he may have underestimated just how much people would cling onto the statement he made. But to his credit, the Balenciaga collections since have been rather restrained; or at the very least, less controversial.

To say that fashion—especially luxury fashion—could do without the "image" or the "buzz" seems pretty idyllic. One of the reasons Demna got into the position at Balenciaga and in turn, helped build this image of a rebellious and out-of-the-ordinary luxury fashion house was because of the buzz that he created through pieces that were so out of left field that one wouldn't necessary associate them with luxury. And in many ways, so did founder Cristóbal Balenciaga during his time.

Balenciaga's Spring 2025 runway show in Shanghai felt like an eventual return to Demna's roots. The rain was pouring rather heavily but the House decided to carry on with the show, prompting the audience to be shielded from the rain with on-brand black umbrellas. The models, including brand ambassador PP Krit, walked down the runway with little concern for the weather—it actually added to the overall mood of the show.

The fit: If "roots" were of any concern, the Balenciaga Spring 2025 collection showed that Demna knew how to balance the House's tailoring expertise with his more contemporary sensibilities. The show opened with a slew of oversized tailoring that have become Balenciaga signatures. Padded, elongated shoulders were de rigueur but this time, they were designed to be long and tall to mimic the towering high rises of Shanghai's Pudong district. In fact, the entirety of the collection referenced this elongated silhouette with platform footwear upping the ante.

The menswear portion of the collection riffed on favoured staples the likes of blazers, coats as well as sweats. The latter were at times skintight, further emphasising the inspiration of the collection. A futuristic sense of styling—sharp-angled eyewear, oversized accessories, and bags shaped like garments—leaned into the more experimental sides of the House.

There were a couple of collaborations too. One that was immediately noticeable was a collaboration with Under Armour, which essentially saw the brand's technical fabrications and logo given the Balenciaga treatment through oversized silhouettes. The other would've easily escaped the eyes of those unfamiliar with the brand. An Alipay collaboration was kept simple: a merch T-shirt simply branded with logos of both brands.

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The details: If you thought the Triple S sneakers were oversized enough (or not), Demna took things quite literally a few levels higher. The collection's platform sneaker was essentially the Triple S on steroids, featuring an outsole significantly bigger than the sneaker's upper. Metalhead boots (also given a supersized platform treatment) proved to be very sturdy during the downpour and no model slipped or fell down throughout the show.

The Spring 2025 collection's more buzzy piece would probably be a clutch shaped into a sneaker box and crafted in leather. It's in line with Demna's penchant for attention-grabbing accessories. Turning the ordinary into seemingly ridiculous luxury objects, you could take it as a critique of the state of luxury—why just covet the sneakers when you can do the same with the box they're packaged in. Or you know, just chalk it up to the "buzz".

Three exceptional looks: Look 2's monochromatic look that showcased the ageless nature of a Balenciaga collection; the effortless Under Armour collaboration of look 17; and look 27's equally effortless combination perfect for the storm that was happening.

The takeaway: There's no taking out the "buzz" from Demna.

View the full Balenciaga Spring 2025 collection in the gallery below.

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