Homer Simpson Was Made for Fashion

Clapping, whispering, cameras snapping, questionable new music: These are the seems of a typical style show. Bursts of laughter? Individuals are much less popular.

Nonetheless a number of were being heard final Saturday night, rolling close to the 19th-century Parisian theater in which the fantastic and storied home of Cristóbal Balenciaga skipped the classic catwalk and screened a specific 10-minute episode of “The Simpsons.”

It was a shock more than a year in the earning, and the end result of a often grueling collaboration in between two exacting creative entities recognized for their attention to depth. So considerably it has been considered far more than five million periods on YouTube.

In the episode, Homer writes to Balenciaga (“Dear Balun, Balloon, Baleen, Balenciaga-ga,” he suggests as he struggles to pronounce the famous manner identify) for Marge’s birthday, outlining that his wife has usually wished to own anything by the manufacturer.

He asks for the most inexpensive merchandise, which the Balenciaga workforce interprets as “just one of those people American gags nobody gets” and sends him a costume that expenditures 19,000 euros. Following sporting it briefly, Marge returns the dress with a observe declaring she’ll “always keep in mind those 30 minutes of emotion just a little specific.”

Back again in Europe, the Balenciaga inventive director Demna Gvasalia declares her take note “the saddest issue I’ve at any time listened to, and I grew up in the Soviet Union. This is specifically the form of female I want to access!” He then travels to Springfield and decides to “rescue” the “style-deprived” by inviting them to model his outfits in Paris, explaining that he wants “the globe to see true men and women in my exhibit.”

The 10 minutes are packed with Easter eggs for die-difficult lovers of both “The Simpsons” and Balenciaga. A non-public Balenciaga jet has landing gear that appears to be like like the brand’s well known sock sneakers Waylon Smithers chooses a costume to have on when given his decision of outfit Lisa at initially acknowledges that strolling a runway is “superficial” but then enjoys it immensely.

The collaboration started in April 2020, when Mr. Gvasalia despatched the “Simpsons” creator Matt Groening an e-mail about operating together.

Mr. Gvasalia, 40, who was born in Ga and viewed the clearly show when he was expanding up, said the strategy arrived to him during the first lockdown of 2020. He has a penchant for inserting Balenciaga into mass-sector tendencies: Below his route, the brand name has collaborated with other American sensations, like Crocs and Fortnite.

About “The Simpsons,” he reported, “I generally loved the tongue-in-cheek humor, the romance and the charming naïveness of it.”

Al Jean, an executive producer and writer of “The Simpsons,” explained that when he learned of the Balenciaga challenge in January, “my reaction was, ‘What’s Balenciaga?’” He turned to Wikipedia for answers.

His initial pitch to Balenciaga had a equivalent framing to the a person they ended up likely with — Marge’s birthday want — but diverged with Mr. Gvasalia’s character selecting that the brand’s subsequent demonstrate would be held in Springfield. When the Balenciaga airplane lands there, its types are not permitted into the United States because they are way too slim and beautiful. Springfield’s inhabitants develop into the products, their nuclear plant is the runway, and the ghost of Mr. Balenciaga helps make an look.

But Balenciaga most popular that Springfield be introduced to Paris, Mr. Jean mentioned. From there, the story was revised and tweaked — to the place that the writers joked about “Draft 52 of the Balenciaga script” — up right up until two days just before the Paris displaying.

Mr. Gvasalia built certain contributions to the script, Mr. Jean reported. For example, the episode ends with Homer embracing and singing “La Mer” to Marge on a article-show social gathering boat on the Seine. But Mr. Gvasalia wished a single closing joke, so he questioned that Homer’s jacket be set on fire by a Frenchman using tobacco a cigar. Mr. Jean then recommended that Anna Wintour, who had appeared in the front row of the vogue present, check out to place out the fire with expensive champagne, which Homer tries to drink in its place.

“She claimed, ‘Please don’t have me do that,’ so it turned Demna,” Mr. Jean mentioned. (Ms. Wintour if not authorized of her likeness remaining made use of but declined to voice her character, he mentioned.) And that earlier line about Mr. Gvasalia rising up in the Soviet Union? The “Simpsons” crew had resolved to slice it, but Mr. Gvasalia questioned for it to be reinstated.

He also requested, the working day ahead of the present, to adjust the color of a tear Ms. Wintour sheds when observing Marge design. The tear was far too gentle, and it would not read through onscreen unless it was a darker blue. Mr. Jean and the director David Silverman agreed.

“They were being definitely our match in phrases of, to the final element, producing positive every thing is excellent,” Mr. Jean mentioned. “The animation crew, this is the most difficult point they’ve had to do given that ‘The Simpsons Film.’”

Mr. Silverman, who directed that 2007 film, mentioned the greatest challenge was obtaining the “accuracy essential in the apparel,” which involved creative write-up-animation outcomes to seize the unique textures and motion of, for example, Marge’s runway appear: a gold metallic ball robe.

Balenciaga despatched the “Simpsons” crew 15 looks to choose from for the remaining exhibit, all dependent on types from the very last 5 a long time. But putting them on the bodies of these universally recognizable cartoon figures was not so easy.

“It was tricky for us, capturing that harmony of caricature and the integrity of the garments,” Mr. Silverman explained. “You’re translating the glance of real outfits, true styles on these figures that aren’t specifically human proportions.”

Mr. Silverman, who joked-but-not-actually that this is how he expended his summer months vacation, studied runway footage to figure out what the viewers must be putting on and how the lighting really should be hitting the catwalk.

The script also experienced to capture the unique absurdity of the luxury fashion planet and Balenciaga’s stature in that globe — anything that cannot be absorbed on Wikipedia. Mr. Jean claimed that in addition to the crash class in Balenciaga previously in the 12 months, seeing the Netflix collection about Halston, who was a good admirer of Balenciaga, assisted him realize the evergreen abnormal lifestyle of fashion.

The supporting characters are also primarily based on authentic individuals and animals, like Mr. Gvasalia’s husband, Loïk Gomez their two canines the chief inventive officer, Martina Tiefenthaler (who voiced herself) and workers from Balenciaga’s atelier who are finishing the collection on the aircraft whilst singing, “formidable, formidable.”

This is one of Mr. Gvasalia’s beloved scenes in the episode, he said: “It just tends to make me so satisfied each time I look at it.”

As for Mr. Gvasalia’s voice, “we had to check out to chat him into enjoying himself, but he didn’t want to,” Mr. Jean claimed. He felt that was steady with Mr. Gvasalia’s recent determination to entirely obscure his encounter and physique for the duration of community appearances, producing confusion among observers as to whether or not it was actually him.

When questioned why he wanted to align Balenciaga with “The Simpsons” and no matter whether he felt the manufacturers experienced any commonalities, Mr. Gvasalia claimed that “it’s additional individual to me.”

“I did not want to align everything or make feeling of everything. I just desired to produce an iconic visible story.”

Even though the novelty of the collaboration made it come to feel stunning, the brands share a related ethos. They have an appreciation for self-referentiality, breaking the regulations of presentation (airing an episode with reside animation turning a red carpet into a runway display with no telling any individual) and bridging the highbrow and lowbrow. Mr. Jean termed Mr. Gvasalia an “excellent collaborator,” and Mr. Gvasalia described the encounter as “the maximum stage of collaboration” and “a desire arrive true.”

“I did not comprehend how complicated it is to make a 10-moment-extensive episode, so substantial respect to that,” he explained.

No matter whether the act was intended to challenge fashion’s self-seriousness or the public’s notions of luxury — to carry Balenciaga to the suburban masses or to provide the suburban masses to Balenciaga — is a thing he will let the critics debate.

What did he want out of this? “A smile and a excellent dose of enjoyment.”

Eleanore Beatty

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