Design wunderkind Demna Gvasalia served up the undisputed highlight of Paris Fashion Week last night, with a special 10-minute Balenciaga-inspired episode of The Simpsons.
Poking fun at the pomp surrounding the world of fashion, the self-deprecating short cemented Gvasalia’s position as the industry’s biggest disruptor. The fashion crowd who gathered at Theatre du Chatelet for what at first appeared to be a standard catwalk show were instead regaled with something that felt fun, fresh, inclusive and very left field. It marked a new chapter in the idea of fashion as entertainment.
“I’ve always loved The Simpsons, for its whole tongue-in-cheek nature and the slightly romantic-naive side to it,” Gvasalia said.
The episode opens with Homer realising that he has forgotten to plan anything for Marge’s birthday on October 2. He finds a magazine where she has written the word “someday” across a Balenciaga and promptly emails the brand, although he struggles with the name, settling on Balenciaga-ga.
“My wife gets this weird sadness of her birthday," Homer shares. “Just because she is moving further from her dreams and closer to her death. I know she always wanted something of yours, so can you send me the cheapest thing with your label on it?”
The team in Paris, assuming this is “just one of those American gags nobody gets”, sends a dress (with a police escort). Marge is delighted with her new gown, complete with Gvasalia’s trademark oversized shoulders, which promptly gets stuck in the door frame; Homer is less enthused by the €19,000 ($22,050) price tag.
Marge wears the dress for a short while before sending it back, with a note thanking the brand “for the dream".
“I’ll always remember those 30 minutes of feeling a little bit special.”
Gvasalia is so touched by the note (“this is the saddest thing I’ve ever heard, and I grew up in the Soviet Union"), that he and his team promptly decamp to Springfield to visit “the style deprived” and invite them to star in his next show in Paris. They are largely unimpressed until he reveals they are opening a new KFC on the Champs-Elysees.
Chief Clancy Wiggum, Moe Szyslak, Skinner’s mother, Waylon Smithers, Bart, Lisa, the baby and even Homer, clad in a red Balenciaga puffer jacket and single drop earring, all end up taking a turn on the runway, but it is Marge that steals the show, earning a standing ovation from the notoriously hard-to-impress Anna Wintour.