High fashion is short fashion. The brightest trends can be the briefest, which makes the fashion industry one of the worst polluters on the planet: Name brand apparel is sometimes literally burned if it goes unsold.
In a new piece that recently debuted at Design Miami, Balenciaga is offering a sculptural mea culpa. Alongside architect, artist, and designer Harry Nurie, Balenciaga displayed a transparent couch stuffed with old Balenciaga garments.
The bottom of the couch is made from mannequin bases, while the shell is clear vinyl. The shape is purposely frumpy, with the unabashed curves of the comfort-first, Lay-Z-Boy-style furniture. It’s stuffed with damaged—or what Belanciaga describes as “otherwise unsellable”—garments.
The real brilliance is in that confetti upholstering of old clothes. Not only is the mix of patterns and colors inherently joyful to the eye; it’s a gleeful repurposing of dated fashion—an approach similar to a new line of patchwork clothes from Patagonia that celebrates old and unusable clothes. The Balenciaga couch features garments that are a mix of several seasons past. Some even still have their old tags. In this sense, the couch is the equivalent of Balenciaga giggling at its old yearbook photos while still secretly thinking they looked pretty dang good with those glasses and bangs.
Sadly, the couch is just a one-off statement piece that won’t be put on sale. Then again, a couch that’s literally stuffed with designer clothing sounds like it would be the most expensive couch imaginable—even bought off the clearance rack.