Balenciaga hosts fashion show in response to “FIRST in Shanghai”

The debut show of French luxury brand Balenciaga’s Spring 2025 collection was held in Shanghai on 30 May, with a simultaneous livestream on the brand’s Weibo account and official website. The Weibo hashtag #Balenciaga Spring fashion show# (巴黎世家大秀) attracted 320 million views. The collection marks Balenciaga’s third overseas fashion show following the New York Spring 2023 and Los Angeles Autumn 2024 collections and is also the Asian debut of the current Creative Director, Demna. This not only highlights Balenciaga’s recognition of Shanghai’s international status but also its strong focus on the Chinese market.

The show also aligns with the economic policy of ‘FIRST in Shanghai’, which is a government initiative to support the hosting of debut shows and exhibitions with international influence and market leadership in Shanghai, offering up to 1 million RMB (approx. 0.14 million USD) in subsidies to organisers. The subsidies cover 30% of the actual investment in venue leasing, exhibition construction, and promotion. Coinciding with the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and France, the show uses the language of fashion as a narrative, making cultural exchanges a global highlight.

Before the show, Balenciaga collaborated with ‘Nanxiang Steamed Buns’ (南翔馒头殿), founded in 1900, to honour Shanghai’s traditional culture and specialities. They used authentic ceramic steamed dumplings as invitations for the show and launched a five-day limited menu at the shop, including French steamed dumplings with black truffles and a special cake with the BB logo.

The show took place outside the Pudong Art Museum. This season, Demna teamed up with Alipay and Under Armour to bring a limited-edition collaboration collection, continuing the brand’s tradition of simple silhouettes, with its logo printed directly on the clothes. After the show, the garments were available online at Balenciaga’s e-commerce shops, WeChat Mini Programs, official website, and Tmall.

In the first half of the show, models wore exaggerated blazers with leggings and thick-soled shoes, carrying shoebox bags made of leather. For the second half, ornate pleated and feathered dresses were incorporated into the sculptural concepts conceived by Demna, showcasing the brand’s unique dressmaking techniques and contrasting simplicity with sophistication. The show also featured 10 Haute Couture gowns created especially for the launch, concluding the event with the new collection.

Prior to the Shanghai show, Balenciaga held its first shows in China in 2013 and 2014 under its then Creative Director, Alexander Wang. During the 2021 Covid-19 pandemic, the brand presented its first Haute Couture collection in China for five days, showcasing the first Haute Couture collection by the current Artistic Director, Demna. This year’s show in Shanghai is thus Balenciaga’s first official show in China under Demna’s leadership, marking an important milestone for both.


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