Balenciaga is back. On Instagram. The original executor of the Instagram fashion tabula rasa, or blank slate, Balenciaga has removed images and posts from its official account nearly every season, or at best after every launch, or anything newsworthy, over the past two years.
Balenciaga first deleted all of its Instagram posts 15th July 2021. The move was part of a marketing campaign for the fashion brand's Fall 2021 collection, which was meant to symbolise a "reset" for the brand. With an empty feed, Balenciaga's Instagram account was left with just one post, a black and white video teaser for the new collection.
As of this weekend, 36 images originally posted between 2018 and 2021 have been ‘unarchived’. Balenciaga’s feed, often a tongue-in-cheek rendition of unexpected or surreal fashion moments – a wallet dressed as a skateboard; a baguette-filled (hand)bag on a supermarket trolley; a tea mug juxtaposed with sunglasses – was a more enjoyable account to follow than most marketing-led fashion brands where campaign, red carpet and celebrities fill the feed.
Balenciaga did not state why it unarchived its images, but perhaps it has to do with its latest ‘reset’, which after the campaign-gate from 2022 focuses on craft, heritage and its brand pillars. Known for its innovative and avant-garde designs, Balenciaga as a brand continues to push the boundaries of fashion and challenge traditional notions of style. But there is also a sense of humour and wit, not just in the way creative director Demna turns the mundane into desirable objects and garments, but also how the brand twists perceptions of photography and allure. These images are entertaining, but they also have depth, are sharp and relevant. Better for us to be able to see them.