Attendees at Balenciaga's anticipated Spring/Summer 2022 fashion week show, who streamed into the Théâtre du Châtelet expecting a standard catwalk show, were instead treated to a special 10-minute episode of The Simpsons made for the occasion in which the characters of Springfield travelled to Paris to walk the Balenciaga runway.
In the film, Homer makes a last-minute plea for Balenciaga to send Marge the cheapest thing they have as a birthday gift. Instead, Marge is sent a very pricey couture green dress, and while she attains her dream of being able to swan around in a Balenciaga creation for a brief moment, she's forced to return it.
Struck by the sad note left by Marge on the return of the garment, thanking the brand for "the best 30 minutes of [her] life", Balenciaga creative director Demna Gvasalia is inspired to invite the “style deprived” regular people of Springfield to model the brand's clothes in Paris.
The Simpsons family models Gvasalia's designs alongside other beloved characters like Patty and Selma Bouvier, twins Sherri and Terri, chief Wiggum and pub landlord Moe Szyslak. Highlights include Waylon Smithers opting to wear a dress, Homer sporting a classic Balenciaga XXL Puffa-style jacket, and Marge closing the show dressed in a striking floor-length gold dress to rousing applause, impressing even Anna Wintour.
Balenciaga fans Kanye West, Kim Kardashian and Justin Bieber all make appearances in the episode as well.
Balenciaga x The Simpsons was everything pic.twitter.com/fLj6Fp5wqf— femme fatale (@eliesaaab) October 2, 2021
This example of branded content by Balenciaga and The Simpsons successfully broke through the ponce that generally accompanies luxury fashion shows, and poked fun at the Kering-owned fashion brand's oversized shoulder pads, eye-watering prices, and difficult-to-pronounce name (at least for Homer). The humourous collaboration has been celebrated by the press and fans of the brand.
According to the fashion house, the bespoke cartoon “is the latest in a progression of activations that push certain boundaries set up between fashion and other forms of entertainment, culture and technology, shifting the brand away from an easily definable category".
The Guardian reports that the screening was preceded by red carpet arrivals, in which guests including Cardi B, model Amber Valletta and photographer Juergen Teller were photographed by paparazzi in Balenciaga’s new collection as they crossed the red carpet outside the theatre in front of screaming crowds. The audience seated inside saw the clothes on a 20-minute livestream of red carpet arrivals instead of being shown them on a runway.
Take a look at the real-life Balenciaga looks that were recreated in The Simpsons episode below.