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Balenciaga Muse Eliza Douglas talks about her art and Ukraine

Eliza Douglas, the artist and model who closed the Balenciaga fall ready-to-wear show during Paris Fashion Week in a Ukrainian blue dress, talks to V about creating art in wartime

Eliza Douglas, the artist and model who closed the Balenciaga fall ready-to-wear show during Paris Fashion Week in a Ukrainian blue dress, talks to V about creating art in wartime

Elisa Douglas has been walking the Balenciaga runway and appearing in their ubiquitous commercial for many seasons now, but she had a really huge moment last season when she walked for Demna again, but this time closing the emotional show in a body all Ukrainian blue dress and stilettos, alongside a counterpart dressed in all Ukrainian yellow down jacket and pants. The mighty setup – inside a dark aircraft hangar a man-made blizzard raged causing the models to struggle to walk the runway against the powerful gusts and blinding snow, signifying an unstoppable will to move forward, even under the threat of war and punishment – ​​was an instant viral moment. He made a bold statement that the fashion world as a whole is against Putin.

Although being part of such a profound show seems like an overwhelming experience, Douglas, who is first and foremost a multimedia artist, was clearly up to the task (she actually donated her entire modeling payment runway Balenciaga to the World Food Program to support Ukraine).

Now, Douglas has partnered with Platform, the e-commerce site that allows Internet users to discover and buy works of art, to showcase their own work: four unique paintings, one of which has already been sold. We caught up with Douglas to chat about being an artist right now and what it’s like to be a Balenciaga baby.

See the full interview below:

VMAGAZINE: As an artist, how does it feel to create art in this time of turmoil?

ELISA DOUGLAS: I want to make art, so I’ll do it if I can. But I don’t think it should be done. And I think it’s rare these days for art to have a significant political impact.

V: Your relationship with the Balenciaga house is quite strong. Do you feel creatively supported by the brand, as one of its most recognizable faces?

ED: On a personal level, I feel supported by the friendships I have made while being part of the brand. As for how participation affects my artistic career, I always assumed it was a mixed bag. Some people may have a positive association with fashion, and maybe their interest in me has increased because of my connection to it, while I’m sure others see it as a discrediting factor. When Balenciaga first approached me as a model, my artistic career was just beginning to take off and I was afraid of the impact it might have on her. But in the end, I have fun and get inspired by participating in their projects, so I don’t question that anymore.

V: Tell us about your art on Platform!

ED: These are paintings created from T-shirts that I have collected over the years, then folded and manipulated in various ways, then photographed. And finally, place it on a canvas.

V: Does making your art feel like a healing process? What does it represent for you?

ED: All in all, the fact that I can make art is a show of personal growth on my part, because for years I was too sensitive and fearful to really get into my work. For me, although sometimes it feels good, making art can also involve a lot of pain and struggle. Although this can also be said about healing… sometimes healing hurts.

Cory E. Barnes

The author Cory E. Barnes