Expérience utilisateur : Balenciaga Paris
Demna Gvasalia ouvre la voie à la boutique-mème de demain
- Texte: Jack Self
- Images gracieusement fournies par: Balenciaga et Jack Self
"Seriously, do not talk to me about finding a guy. With a typically Parisian flair and the precision of a thousand times repeated gesture, my girlfriend throws her cigarette butt on the sidewalk before crushing it under her needle heel, spitting swirls of smoke back to the sky. "It's a real hunting ground here," she says, retouching her lipstick.
The sexual objectification that is at the heart of most encounters is already quite depressing without fashion taking part in turning us into game. The term "meat market" is sometimes used to refer to a nightclub or bar where the clientele hopes to hunt fresh meat and find a prey to return to their den at the end of the evening. This concept has now spread far beyond the walls of these institutions. Sexual objectification has become a true model of society dictating the image we project on the web as our way of buying and selling clothes. To achieve this impeccable personal brand image,
The creative director of [Balenciaga] (http://www.ssense.com/fr-ca/hommes/designers/balenciaga), Demna Gvasalia (who became known as the founder of [Clothing] (https: / / /www.ssense.com/fr-ca/hommes/designers/vetements)) is jumped together in the arena by establishing the new flagship boutique of the brand in Paris. From a distance, the interior is similar in all respects to that of any large haute couture fashion house: large bay windows, sleek, modern lines, thick gray carpets, creamy white linoleum, rich leather cognac seats. The neon lighting has been carefully adjusted to envelop the products of a luxury halo. But as I get closer to the shop on the Rue Saint-Honore, I begin to notice unusual details
First, all its displays are disproportionate. Where one would expect to see simple clamp hangers, one finds instead industrial hooks able to support up to 300 pounds - the kind of hooks to which one would hang an ox rather than an elasthan dress displaying the word " SPANDEX "($ 650). That's when I realized that these rails were a high-end interpretation of the infrastructure used in slaughterhouses. From this massive rolling stock of emergency suspension systems to the brushed steel autopsy tables and the easy maintenance linoleum floor, all these elements contribute to creating an atmosphere reminiscent of a laboratory for medical experimentation or of an industrial meat production line.
That's when we say "Ah yeah, I see, it's a meat market, is that it? But in that case, what are these clothes coming from here? Are we supposed to wear them before hanging from a hook, as if we were participating in some ritual artistic performance? Or are we simply trying to tell ourselves that we are all complicit in the hypercommodification of fashion? Are you capturing or not?
"Yes yes," you say, "I got the trick." It's irony. We are just envelopes filled with fluids looking for a pair of jeans pre-decorated with coffee spots ($ 1250). The inside of the store acts as a physical meme whose meaning is not explicit but rather nuanced, expressing itself through subtle references to its context that only initiates can grasp. This sense of inclusion has been thought to increase the desire to buy those who will be able to dissect - even if only on the surface - these multiple layers of meaning and "peg" the trick ". Basically, Balenciaga invites you to be part of an occult joke.
Over the past century, the fashion industry has built an elaborate craft to communicate its message to consumers, ethereal approaches - such as lookbooks, photo shoots or product placement on red carpets - offensives such as ephemeral kiosks, concept stores or flagship stores. Demna Gvasalia seeks to shake and reinvent these systems. The essence of his work has something reminiscent of the tale _The new clothes of the emperor: he laughs at the so-called sincerity of the megamarchs and of this global industry which make contemporary fashion what it is .
It is often said that it is the critical nature of a work that captures the attention of the consumer and encourages him / her to act. This reasoning was refuted by art theorist Jacques Rancière, who argues that simply attracting the viewer's attention to something is not enough to create an increased commitment on his part. In other words, if you look at Jeff Koons' animal-shaped balloon sculptures, you will no doubt perceive a criticism of the infantilism of our society. Now you will not rush out of the museum to overthrow these forces, condemning you to remain in suspense between childhood and adulthood for the rest of your days. You just shake your head. Those who too often resort to irony always end up facing the same problem: they are unable to express clearly what they really think. Rather, they rely on the tacit complicity of their audience to avoid any questioning.
La puissante ironie qui se dégage de la boutique Balenciaga nous pousse à nous demander : « Pourquoi, au juste, avons-nous encore des boutiques phares? » Je crois comprendre ce que Demna essaie de faire, mais n’est-ce pas là une blague coûteuse? Certes, Balenciaga doit jongler avec les mêmes problèmes auxquels sont confrontées de nombreuses industries. Comment, en effet, justifier l’investissement que représente la présence de tellement de magasins physiques dans des propriétés immobilières aussi prestigieuses? L’approche généralement adoptée consiste à tenter d’améliorer l’« expérience » de magasinage, que ce soit en proposant une programmation pseudo-culturelle enlevante ou des privilèges comme de se faire servir du champagne dans une cabine d’essayage privée, ou tout simplement en créant une rareté pour gonfler les ventes, comme c’est le cas pour ces nombreuses collaborations produites en édition limitée. Mais malgré tous les efforts déployés, le magasinage « physique » semble de plus en plus morne et sans éclat.
Ceci s’explique en partie par le fait que la mode est désormais une affaire d’intérêt mondial dominée par une poignée de grands groupes corporatifs, notamment LVMH, Hermès, Richemont et Kering, qui réalisent conjointement un profit de 210 milliards de dollars et représentent une centaine des marques les plus connues et les plus vendues dans la catégorie des vêtements de luxe. Conséquemment, certaines marques offrant le même genre de produits dans la même gamme de prix doivent se montrer très agressives – comme Gucci (Kering) and Louis Vuitton (LVMH), alors que d’autres – comme Balenciaga et YSL, appartenant toutes deux à Kering – doivent éviter la compétition à tout prix. Cette dynamique de « push/pull » magnétique crée non seulement une distorsion au sein du marché; elle altère aussi le paysage urbain. Le tout se traduit par une géographie hautement calculée et réitérable des marques se transposant dans l’ensemble des environnements commerciaux, des aéroports aux centres commerciaux en passant par les grandes artères. Vous avez sans doute remarqué que certaines grandes entreprises ont tendance à s’agglutiner entre elles. Inconsciemment, vous les associez peut-être même entre elles.
In his seminal text of 1939, "Avant-garde and Kitsch," Clement Greenberg asserts that kitsch "cultivates the propensity of the urban masses to be bored. And it is from this same boredom, he continues, that "he benefits." Kitsch is a mechanical system that operates according to pre-established formulas. Kitsch is an indirect experience woven of artificial sensations. The kitsch changes style, but still remains the same. Kitsch is the epitome of all that modern life has of falsehood. The kitsch claims not to demand anything from its customers except their money - not even their time. According to Greenberg's definition, I come to think that the system and landscape of fashion boutiques have become kitsch as a whole.
Faced with such a stagnant sales environment, Demna Gvasalia attempted to subvert this model by making a subtle yet fundamentally ironic statement about the modern shopping experience. In my opinion, he could have gone further. I feel he is still trying too hard to sell me something. The attractiveness of online shopping stems in part from the fact that a plethora of completely independent brands, styles and price ranges can instantly be compared - or even (in the case of vintage platforms) other times. Impossible for the "physical" headlight shops dedicated to a single brand to make weight. Moving from one to the other to compare products and make an informed purchase is far too time consuming. It would be interesting to imagine that brands completely dissociate their flagship stores from their sales. Rather than trying to make me buy anything in stores, they should follow the logic of Balenciaga to come to this final conclusion: shops should change their vocation to become workshops of buzzing activity, dedicated to artistic expression and live performances. A meme is a form of evolutionary, humorous and contextualized cultural communication. This is what the shops should look like to become "boutiques-mémes". Meanwhile, the reign of the dredge boxes continues. they should follow the logic of Balenciaga to come to this final conclusion: shops should change their vocation to become workshops of buzzing activity, dedicated to artistic expression and live performances. A meme is a form of evolutionary, humorous and contextualized cultural communication. This is what the shops should look like to become "boutiques-mémes". Meanwhile, the reign of the dredge boxes continues. they should follow the logic of Balenciaga to come to this final conclusion: shops should change their vocation to become workshops of buzzing activity, dedicated to artistic expression and live performances. A meme is a form of evolutionary, humorous and contextualized cultural communication. This is what the shops should look like to become "boutiques-mémes". Meanwhile, the reign of the dredge boxes continues.
- Texte: Jack Self
- Images gracieusement fournies par: Balenciaga et Jack Self