Demna Gvasalia and I meet in the metaverse, in a glassed-in conference room in an unnamed city. Though the buildings suggest Singapore by way of the Jetsons.
“This is kind of trippy,” said the avatar otherwise known as the creative director of Balenciaga, upon materializing in the room. “What do I have on? What kind of jacket? I bet it’s not oversized.”
He was wearing a black warm-up jacket and black T-shirt, with a silver chain around his neck, gold hoops in both ears, a black baseball cap and a five o’clock shadow. He looked, in other words, a lot like the real-life designer, who usually wears all black, a baseball cap and hoops — though the hoodie was perhaps not as voluminous as he may have liked, and his skin had the ageless perfection of a cartoon, though he is 40.
My outfit, on the other hand, apparently left something to be desired.
“Did you choose your avatar?” Demna (as he is now officially known; no last name) asked. I allowed that I had, but there were limited clothing options, most of which seemed straight from Talbots or Topshop. “You’re wearing a blue three-button polo,” Demna said. And giggled. Then he waved his arms around in front of his face a few times as if he couldn’t quite believe they were there. “I have to get used to this,” he said.
In reality, Demna was in Paris, in the Balenciaga offices where he spends a week a month. (The rest of the time he is at home outside Zurich, with his husband, Loïck Gomez, their two chihuahuas, Cookie and Chiquita, and his collection of Princess
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