‘It is not just some random techno track playing while the show takes place. The music and the looks change at the same time, to reveal parallel stories.’


It’s hard to appreciate the sheer visceral nature of the Balenciaga runway experience until you’ve been physically immersed in it.

Thunderous techno, twisted electronica, anxiety-inducing industrial goth rock, and a cinematic orchestration that makes the soundtrack to the average Bourne chase sequence feel like a Disney score. Anyone who’s felt the Balenciaga show soundtracks (the volume’s always turned up to 11) will attest to the inimitable pounding that the music impresses on both body and mind.

All are the work of French musician BFRND. As the husband of Demna, show composer and model (thanks to his pitch-perfect, on-brand look), he occupies a unique place in the modern-day Balenciaga landscape. His physical and cultural proximity to Demna’s world allows him to embed his highly emotive sounds deep into every show’s concept and meaning.

Press play to enter the world of Balenciaga. With a System playlist by BFRND.

Subscribe to the System Spotify channel here.

Read the full interview with BFRND in System No. 18. Click here to buy online.



The Big Balenciaga Saga!
System launches its Issue 18, featuring a 120-page mega-story exploring the wonderful world of Demna’s Balenciaga.

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In the six years since he joined Balenciaga as creative director, Demna has simultaneously reinvented the house and redefined luxury fashion.

Over the past few months, System and photographer Juergen Teller have taken a closer look inside the Balenciaga phenomenon, starting with Demna himself. The designer reveals his motivations and inspirations in a series of wide-ranging conversations – with writer Cathy Horyn, alongside Balenciaga CEO Cédric Charbit, and on the phone with his one-time teacher at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, Linda Loppa.

Plus, interviews with Balenciaga’s chief creative officer and Demna’s trusted right-hand Martina Tiefenthaler, and the man responsible for Balenciaga’s runway-show music and husband to Demna, BFRND; a look at why Balenciaga’s casting is like ‘a members’ club, but for non-members only’; why make-up artist Inge Grognard’s work with Balenciaga is so ground-breaking; and Epic Games and Unreal Engine on how Balenciaga’s recent Fortnite collaboration blurs the barriers between IRL and the metaverse. Photographer David Sims and fashion editor Joe McKenna showcase Demna’s Balenciaga archives from Autumn/Winter 2016 to Winter 2021. And finally, Demna reveals the contents of his personal phone-camera roll.

Also in System’s 300+ page issue:

How two fashion journalists took non-traditional routes to becoming important – and highly opinionated – new industry voices: Luke Meagher, aka HauteLeMode and Pierre A. M’Pelé, aka Pam Boy in conversation.

Supriya Lele, KNWLS and Nensi Dojaka on London’s new wave of womenswear, designed by women for women. With photography by Drew Vickers and styling by Vanessa Reid.

The best of Autumn/Winter 2021-2022’s looks, by photographer Carlijn Jacobs and stylist Haley Wollens.

‘I love this one!’ Chanel’s Spring/Summer 2022 accessories, as chosen by 12 of System’s favourite stylists. With photographs by Charles Negre.

Omoyemi Akerele, founder of Lagos Fashion and Design Week on the future of Nigerian fashion. Plus ‘In Lagos’, an exploration of Nigeria’s exciting fashion scene by photographer Josh Woods and stylist Ola Ebiti.

For Venice Beach native, Eli Russell Linnetz of Los Angeles-based brand ERL, fashion is an unretouched snapshot of 1970s-tinged ‘dude culture’, as told to head curator of the Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute, Andrew Bolton.

From Van Gogh to Demna, Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts continues to nurture fine artists. With its head of fashion Walter Van Beirendonck in conversation and photographs by Ronald Stoops and Catherine Smet.

American painter and frequent Balenciaga collaborator Eliza Douglas answers Loïc Prigent’s bespoke Runway Questionnaire.

Plus, Vanessa Ohaha on dreaming of a career in her native Nigeria, while looking for a break in London; art curator Ben Broome on choosing when art should take the cash from fashion; and a journey from war zone to wardrobe, as described by Iraqi designer Yesawi.

System Issue 18 is accompanied by an exclusive Chanel print supplement exploring ‘Les Rendez-vous littéraires rue Cambon’, created by Charlotte Casiraghi. Celebrating women and literature, Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group and featuring cover stars Casiraghi and actor Keira Knightley. With photography by Alasdair McLellan and creative direction by Aleksandra Woroniecka.

System is available at your local quality magazine store from January 24.

Click here to buy online



Sneak peek. System Issue 18. The Big Balenciaga Saga.

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Retail saves!
System launches Issue 17 exploring the future of shopping. Featuring cover stars, Mr Ji, founder and chairman of SKP Beijing, and José Neves, founder of Farfetch.

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In February, this year, it was reported that SKP Beijing had become the highest-performing luxury department store in the world. The news highlighted what is arguably the defining transition – both pre- and post-pandemic – for the global luxury fashion market: Chinese consumer appetite and purchasing power is now sustaining the profitability of many Western brands.

System has spent the past six months exploring the world of SKP for our cover story. This is the first time its founder and chairman Mr Ji has agreed to be interviewed, so we took full advantage and invited Patrizio Bertelli, CEO of Prada, and Jonathan Anderson, creative director of Loewe and JW Anderson, to record conversations with him, before Mr Ji led photographer Juergen Teller on a personal guided tour (remotely, of course) through SKP’s younger-and-edgier sister store, SKP-S.

Meanwhile, our second cover story features José Neves, founder of e-commerce giant Farfetch. In a wide-ranging interview, Neves discusses the realities of online success in lockdown, the convergence of virtual and physical fashion, and how the Farfetch-coined ‘Luxury New Retail’ is transforming the shopping experience. With portraits shot by Juergen Teller.

Also in System’s 300+ page issue:

When Kim Jones asked acclaimed painter Peter Doig to collaborate on this season’s Dior Men collection, the uncanny ties between the artist and Christian Dior himself slowly began to reveal themselves. Doig and Jones spoke to Jerry Stafford, with photographs on location in Zermatt by Benoît Peverelli.

Couture’s rebellious outsider Azzedine Alaïa spent his life amassing a 35,000-piece collection of fashion history, to which no one had access – until now. Fondation Azzedine Alaïa director Carla Sozzani and curator Olivier Saillard discuss Alaïa’s eye-watering collecting habits, his sense of fashion history, and the future of this unique time capsule. With photographs by Robert Polidori.

The darkness and lightness of Walter Van Beirendonck’s life in fashion, as told to Tim Blanks, with photographs and styling by Belgian image-making duo Willy Vanderperre and Olivier Rizzo.

Saint International is the model agency changing lives and expanding horizons. From his base in Kingston, Jamaica, Saint founder Deiwght Peters discusses the increased presence of Black models on catwalks, covers and campaigns, and the barriers they continue to face.

And in a further exploration of Jamaica’s fashion scene, photographer Luca Khouri and stylist Marika-Ella Ames reimagine dancehall culture.

Will the next great Japanese designer come from Coconogacco fashion school in Tokyo? System spoke to its founder Yoshikazu Yamagata about why his promising design students are taught to think differently, before asking the school’s current undergraduates, ‘What makes Coconogacco unique?’ With photographs by Takashi Homma.

Fashion critic Angelo Flaccavento in conversation with Italian duo Sunnei about their fiercely non- Milanese brand from Milan with the kindergarten-for-adults aesthetic.

How New York label Area is shaking up couture. Its founders Beckett Fogg and Piotrek Panszczyk discuss elitism, club culture and what makes crystals so very special with Hans Ulrich Obrist. Photographs by Brianna Capozzi and styling by Akeem Smith.

Why Max Mara’s ongoing Steven Meisel-shot ad campaigns epitomise the Italian brand’s mantra of ‘evolution not revolution’.

The looks of the season, featuring a convergence of styles, brands and exclusive products selected from SKP Beijing and SKP-S. With photography by Leslie Zhang and styling by Lucia Liu.

The Future of Spaces.
As the world continues to face the Covid-19 crisis, System invited a group of unique voices from the worlds of art and culture to share their own thoughts and feelings about the future of spaces: architect Rem Koolhaas, filmmaker Jenn Nkiru, creative collective No Vacancy Inn, and museum director Chris Dercon.

An intimate photographic look into the life of Parisian jewellery designer Elie Top.

Giovanna Engelbert answers Loïc Prigent’s bespoke ‘Gio’ questionnaire.

An exclusive portfolio unveiling Juergen Teller’s limited-edition capsule collection for Palace Skateboards.

Plus, Kim Hastreiter on how her latest publication was created on a New York City park bench; Camille Charrière on the edge of influence; and Patrick Li’s personal take on #StopAsianHate’s past, present and future.

System Issue 17 is accompanied by ‘Counter Culture’, a Farfetch print supplement that surveys the world’s most-loved independent boutiques in 2021.

System is available exclusively at Dover Street Market in London, New York and Los Angeles and 0fr. in Paris, from June 25th. Then at quality press vendors and newsstands internationally from July 2nd.

Click here to buy online



Episode 1
Rem Koolhaas

The guest of our debut episode is Dutch architect, urbanist, theorist, and all-round big thinker Rem Koolhaas. With his architecture firm OMA, Rem conjures up the kind of buildings that are as spectacular as they are challenging, mixing intense research and investigation with a taste for avant-garde design. In Asia, he’s delivered projects such as the monumental Beijing headquarters of China’s state broadcasting company, CCTV, while in America his work includes the intricate and multi-layered Seattle Central Library. Then there’s his 20-year collaboration with Prada, working continuously on the brand’s shops, set design and its art foundation in Milan.

More than any single building though, Rem is perhaps best known for being a kind of one-man think tank, travelling the world and bringing his experiences and encounters into new architecture, new books, new exhibitions, and above all, new ideas.

Press play to listen to Rem Koolhaas reminiscing about why his childhood was too adventurous for Lego, why he thinks the word ‘icon’ should be banished, and why the future of architecture might just be biology – and don’t forget to subscribe to Past, Present and Future to hear each new episode as soon as it drops.

Subscribe to Past, Present and Future on Apple, Google and Spotify.

Portrait by Willy Vanderperre
Podcast music by Frédéric Sanchez



Past, Present
and Future

A podcast series from System

Past, Present and Future is a new podcast series from System magazine. In each episode, we invite the biggest names from the worlds of fashion and the arts to chat about where they’re from, where they’re currently at, and where all of us might be heading.

Subscribe to Past, Present and Future on Apple, Google and Spotify.

Podcast music by Frédéric Sanchez



System launches new issue featuring cover stars Ibrahim Kamara and Rafael Pavarotti, photographed by Juergen Teller