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In Focus: Balenciaga
In Focus: Balenciaga

In Focus: Balenciaga

From couture to The Simpsons”, the metaverse and beyond, as Balenciaga continually reimagines what it means to be a luxury fashion brand today, it should come as no surprise that The New York Times declared 2021 the year of Balenciaga and the latest Lyst Index sees it retain its place as the world’s hottest brand. Inspired by Balenciaga’s blurring of fashion, celebrity and spectacle in its two-part spring/summer 22 presentation, LN-CC wanted to throw an after-party that the possibility-pushing, imagination-igniting luxury house deserves.

Few fashion shows receive applause, laughter and universal acclaim, but as Balenciaga presented a photocall on a Hollywood-style red carpet and the movie premiere of The Simpson | Balenciaga inside a 19th-century Parisian theatre back in October, Balenciaga did just that and more. It was 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. Enter London’s best new club night GutterRing and the opportunity to realise a genre blurring afterparty that saw a cast of regulars style themselves in the latest Balenciaga fashions.

Launched in lockdown when flatmates and friends V, Luke, Val, Naz and Lucas needed a project to distract them, GutterRing was, is and forever will be, the antihesis of commercial nightlife, providing a community-focussed, safe hedonistic space that plays harder, louder and more diverse than any other queer-accepting fun club night. Its name encapsulates their shared feeling of existing beyond society and looked down upon and the sense of community they get from sharing that position. “We’re all in it together in the dirt,” the self-proclaimed rave rats explain over email. United by the escape of the night, all non-assholes are welcome.


In Focus: Balenciaga

“For those only watching, GutterRing is not the same through a screen, you have to get your goggles on and go for the dive,” self-described humanoid biblical stranger and GutterRing regular Beatrix tells us over email. Diving in with Balenciaga for a private event filled with GutterRing regulars, the SUPERSONIC INVASION featured cosmic noise from XNBTNI, Zlaya, whitetrashtray, DJ ANTIMANIFESTO and Wow cZ, alongside an installation by David Varhegyi and Willow, with a soundscape by whitetrashtray, Bitter Gold and HforSpirit. Are you ready for a dive? Press play on whitetrashtray’s Store Mix, jump in and float away in GutterRing’s underworld.



PIXIE & FRANKIE


In Focus: Balenciaga

For the uninitiated, what Does GutterRing look like?
Pixie: A dark magical realm.

What Does GutterRing feel like?
Pixie: The mainframe of a supercomputer from space.
Frankie: Like an electric current.

What Does GutterRing taste like?
Pixie: Little gay people from a different dimension.
Frankie: Sour candies.

What Does GutterRing sound like?
Pixie: Emo pixies on stims throwing glitter everywhere.
Frankie: Ringing in my ears but in the best way.

How will you remember the LN-CC Invasion?
Pixie: The invasion felt new , it was somehow everything I previously mentioned while more underground yet new and shiny, almost like I was just a visitor.
Frankie: The LN-CC collaboration was one of my favourite nights so far, because we got to experience the installation space while doing the shoot which really got us in the mood to go and dance with everyone. It was lovely to see my friends style themselves in the Balenciaga clothes and sort of integrate the Balenciaga vibe into their own looks for Gutterring. It was really collaborative, we were inspired by the installation space and we all tried on different outfits and helped style each other. I loved the transition from the energy of the shoot to the event space, because we brought all of the excitement about the shoot into the event space and got to talk about the experience with our friends who were already in there dancing. I particularly enjoyed dancing right next to the dj booth because from there you can watch everyone in the crowd dancing, you can really feel the energy there.
@pixie.venom and @genderfuckalien.


PALESA & DEXTRA


In Focus: Balenciaga

For the uninitiated, what Does GutterRing look like?
Palesa: Unapologetic self expression. The array of people and styles you encounter is beautiful to see, which makes guttering a comfortable space for me and others to express ourselves in.
Dextra: Industrial TechnoSpiritual solarpunk y2k trans-human gender-expansive hyperpop cybercore Psychedelia!

What Does GutterRing feel like?
Palesa: Freedom. For me, the GutterRing environment provides me with an escape, a new world I can enter and meet people I have bonded genuine friendships with.
Dextra: Metal covered in piss and sweat.

What Does GutterRing sound like?
Palesa: For me, I particularly remember the donk standing out to me at stages of LN-CC Invasion (or at least if I still remember this a few days later it must have drawn my attention.)
Dextra: Post-nostalgic hypermedia swatching into multiple timezones - sonic synesthesia.

What Does GutterRing taste like?
Palesa: The LN-CC Invasion tasted like a lot of white claw!!!!!!
Dextra: Toxic waste, sugar free Redbull, cigarettes and saccharine.

How will you remember the LN-CC Invasion?
Palesa: The LN-CC invasion was an amazing experience, I loved how immersive the installations were, it took the guttering experience to the next level. A particular stand out moment for me was having the opportunity to see and wear the garments Balenciaga had on showcase.
Dextra: As much as I enjoy modeling and the creative process, it can be quite soul destroying to be a mannequin in motion on set all day and so this was a fun change! GutterRing has always felt like the safest and most homely space for my trans and neurodivergent self, more than any of the other raves I’ve been to in London. And this was true on set at the LN-CC as it would be for any other GutterRing.
@irl4ngel and @dextra_mandrake.


BEA & MATVEY


In Focus: Balenciaga

For the uninitiated, what Does GutterRing look like?
Bea: GutterRing has a grainy texture to it , like chewing on hot gooey tarmac.
Matvey: Think Blacksabbath from DevilMan Crybaby, think of Hieronymus Bosch paintings, now stop thinking because the experience is truly indescribable ( ; = ;)

What Does GutterRing feel like?
Matvey: Recipe: Post Insomnia + >400mg caffeine.
Bea: Like sweat and dust and the filth emanating from the writhing corpses. Guttering has a unique sweet putridity much like the familiarity of petrol or perfume.

What Does GutterRing sound like?
Matvey: Eccentric Sonic Rituals _〆(・・ )♪
Bea: of each shockwave carrying you deeper into a serene flow.

What Does GutterRing taste like?
Matvey: Art(ificial) Flavor &.'^_^ yummm ::>

How will you remember the LN-CC Invasion?
Matvey: Backrooms -> Fashion Week -> Space Odyssey -> Eccentric Sonic Rituals =[pipeline]= ♬♫♪◖(● o ●)◗♪♫♬ u had to be there to fully experience it :
Bea: If LN-CC was like being in the corridors of a space-age mothership, then Guttering invasion is the sewer system that burst flooding throughout the vessel, caking it in grime and bile. I remember the floor-lit corridor being full of beings, and characteristically of Gutterings rats they like to make an entrance. That phase of the invasion was really glam, loved.
@mecha._.mew and @iliyashov.


RANDY & WESLEY


In Focus: Balenciaga

What does GutterRing mean to you?
Wesley: Guttering was a little bit of salvation a few years ago, it was one of the only parties happening! It was so nice to be able to have a boogie , even though it was in a sweaty squatted cafe in Old Street! What I love about GutterRing is that I got to hear the baseline played at a party for the first time since moving to London 5 years ago. To then hear it effortlessly mixed into some techno two seconds later was fabulous. There's something really exciting about this post-genre style of mixing they have , it's super refreshing!

You looked amazing dressed in Balenciaga and shot against the backdrop of David and Willow's installation, but how did you feel?
Wesley: The shoot was super fun, basically upgraded the outfit I was wearing into a super expensive Balenciaga version.
@randyskylar and @wesleycmanners.


ERIKO & DEXTRA


In Focus: Balenciaga

Who are you, what do you do and why do you do it?
I’m Eriko and my artist name is Desiludildo. I’m a fashion school dropout, DJ and model at @wimp.agency while occasionally doing some styling work.

What does GutterRing mean to you?
I found out about GutterRing through mutual friends and social media. I’ve heard a lot of positive and exciting rumours about the event. My first experience with guttering was soon after lockdown in 2021. It was mind blowing! The location was perfectly chosen, the atmosphere was exactly what I was looking for that night. It was also my most memorable GutterRing night. I met a lot of inspiring queer people, I really felt sense of community and belonging.

For the uninitiated, what Does GutterRing look like?
Like a dungeon.

What Does GutterRing feel like?
Euphoria.

What Does GutterRing taste like?
Little gay people from a different dimension

What Does GutterRing sound like?
Metal stairs falling down metal stairs hitting an arcade machine, shout out whitetrashtray.

You looked amazing dressed in Balenciaga and shot against the backdrop of David and Willow's installation, but how did you feel?
The whole thing was immersive and the attention to detail was impressive. Otherworldly I would say. There was a moment in time I actually didn’t know where I was and I wanted to live in there lol.
@desiludildo


Credits
GutterRing V, @zlopobedilo. Luke, @whitetrashtray. XNBTNI, @xnbtni. Val, @chemsexlesbian.
Installation David, @david_varhegyi. Willow, @willowkill3en. Soundscape @whitetrashtray, @h_for_spirit, @bitter.g0ld.
Talent, Sienna, @pixie.venom. Frankie @genderfuckalien. Palesa, @irl4ngel. Dextra, @dextra_mandrake. Bea, @mecha._.mew. Matvey,@iliyashov. Randy, @randyskylar. Wesley, @wesleycmanners. Eriko, @desiludildo.
Photography, Alex, @alexloveless69.
LN-CC Store Mix Luke, @whitetrashtray.


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