Balenciaga Gives Fake Dollars, Full of Colors and Fragrance

In the last ten days of May, a large wave of fashion circles "showed off their wealth" on social media – posting photos of thick stacks of hundred-dollar bills. There are also video shooters, recording the appearance and voice of themselves counting money.

▲ Video taken by Thom Bettridge, creative director of global shopping website SSENSE. Image from: Instagram @thomthomclub

It is the same person who is soft-handed by counting the money, but in March this year, all kinds of photos and videos of the iPhone 6 exploded. The screen is really broken, and the repair costs will cost a lot of money. .

▲ iPhone 6 burst screen. Image from: Twitter @bryanboy

Did they join some mystery club? Wrong, they are all invited guests to the Balenciaga catwalk, and the iPhone 6 and the dollar bills are both catwalk invitations. The iPhone 6 is an original and genuine version purchased through regular channels, and I have to praise it – it turns out that the screen-breaking mobile phone can also be bought by luxury brands as a catwalk invitation.

▲ Jamie-maree Shipton receiving an invitation from Balenciaga. Image via: Twitter @hansoheeglobal

On March 6 this year, the iPhone 6 invitation invited this wave of people from all over the world to watch a catwalk in a man-made snowstorm where models were almost unable to walk – Balenciaga's 2022 autumn and winter ready-to-wear collection.

▲ Balenciaga 2022 autumn and winter ready-to-wear series fashion show. Picture from: Vogue

▲ Venue of the Balenciaga 2022 autumn and winter ready-to-wear collection. Image credit: Dezeen

And the most recent show, the 2023 Cruise Collection on May 22, was Balenciaga's first show in the United States, and creative director Demna Gvasalia wanted to show his impression of the United States. Demna was influenced by her father's dream of being a banker since she was a child, and the stock exchange has naturally become an iconic place for this New York dream.

▲ The New York Stock Exchange with the Balenciaga logo projected on it. Image from: Hypebae

So on the day of the runway, inside the Wall Street Stock Exchange in New York, a group of full-length models in rubber wear Garde-Robe's new collection (a classic office worker's wardrobe) and an Adidas collaboration (street mix-and-match style), accompanied by the bell of the stock exchange. The sound and the noisy background sound went away.

▲ Balenciaga 2023 early spring vacation series catwalk scene. Image from: YouTube @Balenciaga

They all went to the stock exchange, and it would be too outrageous not to issue money. Balenciaga seems very reliable this time, and has prepared a large stack of thick US dollar bills – in fact, the invitation letter of the fake bill version was sent to the guests, with information on the location and time of the catwalk, and asked them to bring " money" on time to watch the show.

▲ The front and back of the Balenciaga counterfeit banknote invitation. Image credit: Grailed

Today, let's not talk about "only talk about dreams but not money", let's talk about "money" seriously – talk about what money can do, talk about the taste of money, and talk about how you can design with "money" invitation letter.

▲ Singer Megan Thee Stallion posted a selfie and an invitation from Balenciaga. Image from: Instagram @theestallion

Money is "universal", and so are counterfeit US dollar bills

Before this show, many people wondered how Demna won the New York Stock Exchange? Demna later did not shy away from telling the truth: "It's really super simple, hey, talk with money."

▲ Demna Gvasalia (pictured right) in a rubber suit with Selah Marley's "show off wealth". Image from: YouTube @demnagram

There is also talk that Demna made this clothing line to criticize the evil capitalism. I'm sorry, but these people got Demna's meaning wrong again.

According to Demna, the most important challenge for creatives in the fashion industry is to create desirable products and create a desire to buy. When it comes to what evokes the most desires, what better than money?

Demna also prepared a bill counter, put in a large stack of US dollar bills, and shot the most evocative catwalk promotional video.

▲ Balenciaga catwalk promotional video. Image from: YouTube @demnagram

The desire for money is the greatest human fetish.

– Demna Gvasalia, Creative Director, Balenciaga

If the counterfeit banknotes printed by Balenciaga hadn’t intentionally replaced the serial number and other information words, I’m afraid I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference if I picked up a magnifying glass. It is an old Paris-based printing company whose name is Imprimerie du Marais.

▲ Detail map released by printing company Imprimerie du Marais. Image from: YouTube @imprimeriedumarais

The name of this company sounds unfamiliar, but the customers are more famous than each other – Dior, Givenchy, Kenzo Takada, Margiela, Acne Studios, Isabel Marant and so on. Couldn't be on the long list.

Being able to attract so many big fashion brands, Imprimerie du Marais is quite amazing and very innovative. For example, last year it produced a fake passport for fashion brand Balmain's international airport-themed runway, with details that rivaled the real passport.

The official Instagram of the Imprimerie du Marais recently posted a 34-second video of counterfeiting. It's really hard not to be moved when you see this oversized piece of paper cut into banknotes and stacks of hundred-dollar bills.

▲ Production video released by printing company Imprimerie du Marais. Image via: YouTube @imprimeriedumarais

However, this is not the first time that Balenciaga has played with counterfeit banknotes, nor is it the first time that a fashion brand has seriously talked about "money".

Maison Margiela, a fashion brand that has always been creative, launched its $11 bill wallet back in 2008. This year, it once again launched the Future High Top Sneakers, inspired by banknotes.

▲ Maison Margiela banknote wallet. Image via: Instagram @archived.dreams

▲ Maison Margiela Future High Top Sneakers. Picture from: Maison Margiela

American designer brand Jeremy Scott is also covered with US dollar bills on a long trench coat in the 2001 autumn and winter series and the Forum Wings 1.0 launched in cooperation with Adidas in 2003.

▲ Forum Wings 1.0 launched by Jeremy Scott and Adidas. Image from: Mans World India

Kim Kardashian also wore this banknote trench coat with Balenciaga's banknote boots from 2018.

▲ Kim Kardashian. Image from: People

Balenciaga’s bond with the U.S. dollar bill is even stronger—the BB Round bag in 2018, the U.S. dollar-print shirt, and the $1 faux fur scarf in 2021.

▲ Khloe Kardashian received Balenciaga's BB Round bag as a birthday present. Image from: Page Six

▲ Balenciaga's dollar print shirt. Image from: Lyst

▲ Balenciaga's faux fur scarf. Image from: Hypebeast

If this is a theme design competition for US dollar bills, then this competition is still early. What else do designers create with counterfeit banknotes? let us wait and see.

Banknotes without money taste, even counterfeit banknotes are not worthy

Looking like "money" and counting like "money" didn't satisfy Demna, and he wanted this invitation to smell like money too.

How to make counterfeit banknotes that are full of color and fragrance, Demna immediately thought of Sissel Tolaas, an old friend and partner of Balenciaga, a very knowledgeable smell artist.

▲ Scent artist Sissel Tolaas. Image via: Ktchn Rebel

Sissel is a German born in Norway who speaks 9 languages ​​and has studied mathematics, chemistry, linguistics and fine arts at various universities in just 7 years. She has since traveled for 7 years, collecting different scent samples around the world, then using her knowledge of chemistry to extract and replicate scents.

Her collection of scents also includes sweat from David Beckham on Adidas sneakers. She made homemade cheese with the flavor and served it to VIPs at the Olympics.

In 2004, with the support of the International Flavors and Fragrances (IFF), she founded the laboratory SMELL RE_searchLab, which has created an archive of at least 7000 real scents.

▲ Laboratory SMELL RE_searchLab. Image from: Research Catalogue

For occupations related to smell, perfumers are usually the first thing that comes to mind. But Sissel doesn't make perfume, and doesn't like to spray it, because she thinks perfume distorts the reality of the world, which she wants to expose and show to the public.

Every breath tells us something about the world, but we almost forget how to smell.

– Scent artist Sissel Tolaas

The common denominator of "like to expose the real world" brought the Balenciaga family under the helm of Sissel and Demna to finally come together.

Their first collaboration began in 2019, when the Balenciaga Spring/Summer 2020 collection was a "power dress", so they wanted to exude a "power" smell on the catwalk.

▲ The scene of the Balenciaga Spring/Summer 2020 fashion show. Image from: YouTube @lamodeenimages

There is no Sissel in this world more suitable for this job, and finally she developed 4 special flavors – blood, preservatives, gasoline and money. At this time, the Balenciaga family began to be obsessed with the taste of money.

▲ Sissel Tolaas at the Balenciaga catwalk. Image from: Instagram @sssl_berlin

The following year, they collaborated again on the autumn/winter 2020 show, this time Sissel prepared for Balenciaga the smell of the entire space and the explosion of the earth under various climate disasters.

▲ Balenciaga 2020 autumn and winter fashion show scene. Image from: Instagram @sssl_berlin

Are the money flavors and other peculiar flavors made by Sissel really special for Balenciaga? No, you can smell it when you buy an exhibition ticket.

She started a global tour exhibition "RE________" last year, first in Oslo, Norway, and is expected to move to Philadelphia, USA by the end of this year, and the subsequent locations are yet to be announced.

▲ The smell art exhibition "RE________". Image from: Itsliquid

The exhibition in Oslo consists of seven indoor and outdoor spaces. There is a sink at the entrance to the museum's lobby, and visitors are asked to wash their hands with Sissel's skin-scented soap.

▲ The sink at the entrance of the exhibition. Image credit: Frieze

Immediately after entering the outdoor space, there will be a money-smelling sauna. After the sauna, it will smell of money, and there will be Sissel's body odor on your hands. There is also a pool next to it, so that everyone can wash the smell of money on their bodies.

▲ The sauna in the exhibition. Image credit: Frieze

Put on a Balenciaga banknote printed shirt and go to the sauna in this scent exhibition, will we become as rich as this invitation when we come out?

▲ The production process of money flavor. Image from: Instagram @sssl_berlin

The invitation letter made into a card is difficult to innovate and not environmentally friendly

Traditional invitations will be beautifully printed, using paper to convey key information such as the time and location of the event. The invitation letter, as the beginning of the whole event, usually forms the first impression of the upcoming event for the guests, and it will also be kept as a souvenir of the event after the event. This phenomenon will be more obvious in the past when the Internet is not yet developed.

Well-designed invitations can also cause topics and discussions, and invisibly bring traffic to the brand. For example, the invitations to Off-White's Fall/Winter 2019 collection used a translucent envelope with real banknotes—one for $10 and one for €200.

▲ Off-White, Alyx and JMWeston 2019 autumn winter series fashion show invitation. Image from: Wallpaper

At the moment when the ideas of air tickets, shopping receipts, and star claim books have been played all over, some fashion brands represented by Balenciaga are no longer satisfied with the 1.0 version of the paper invitation, and began to play with the 2.0 version – there are commemorative meaningful items.

▲ Gucci's stellar claim book invitation. Image via: Instagram @gucci

Replacing invitations with food is all the rage in 2019. The most iconic are breads by Jacquemus, fruit and vegetable packs by Gucci and custom pasta by Fendi.

▲ Jacquemus's Bread Invitation. Image via: Instagram @jacquemus

▲ Gucci's fruit and vegetable invitation. Image via: Facebook @Diet Prada

▲ Fendi's spaghetti invitation. Image via: NSS Magazine

The invitation letter designed by Virgil Abloh for LV is more like a gift, and there are always unexpected surprises after opening the box. Clocks running counterclockwise, wooden airplane models, game cards, and more all appear in the history of LV invitations, and almost every invitation led by Virgil Abloh has become a high-priced resale product in the second-hand market.

▲ LV's clock invitation. Image from: Holt Renfrew

▲ LV's wooden airplane invitation. Image from: MVC Magazine

Invitations to take the natural route have also become the go-to for some brands — Dries Von Noten, Stella McCartney and Mathieu Mirano to name a few.

▲ Invitation by Dries Von Noten. Image via: Artclair

▲ Mathieu Mirano's Bacteria Dish Invitation. Image Credit: Bizbash

Practicality comes first, and it's also a good idea to give your guests clothes and essentials, like sunscreen from Jacquemus, pajamas from Prada, and matchboxes from Chloé.

▲ Jacquemus's sunscreen invitation. Image via: Vogue

▲ Prada's pajama invitation. Image from: The Impression

▲ Chloé's matchbox invitation. Image via: Instagram @fash0n

Maison Margiela's invitations always have unexpected and fresh ideas. However, when I saw the date marked on it, I realized that this was an idea from many years ago, and it is still very innovative in the present. The most impressive thing is the projection pen. You can only see the catwalk information by pointing it at the wall and lighting it up.

▲ Maison Margiela's projection pen invitation. Image via: Instagram @contemporaryfashionarchive

However, the most environmentally friendly and most economical is the invitation letter for the Gucci 2020 autumn and winter Milan fashion show. It is a WhatsApp voice from the brand creative director Alessandro Michel.

▲ Gucci voice invitation. Image from: Footwear News

The evolution of invitation letters is also an important step in the rejuvenation strategy of big fashion brands – no longer stick to the traditional rules and regulations, and must be presented in black and white, but instead use the language of the younger generation, using objects and methods that everyone can feel. to express.

The design of the invitation letter is essentially similar to the posters we see every day. If it is designed well, we will have high expectations for this movie, and even start to guess the plot of the movie from the poster. A well-designed invitation will also enhance the brand image.

▲ Alvy Singer (played by Woody Allen) chatting while queuing in a New York movie theater. Picture from: The movie "Annie Hall"

And this kind of invitation design should not be limited to fashion shows, personal events such as wedding banquets and commercial events such as new product launches can be used. Receiving a well-designed object is like receiving a brand name card, an event souvenir and a full sincerity along with the invitation message.

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