Couture week is here to revive the fashion world, and Demna Gvasalia is making a statement with his first couture collection under Balenciaga — the century-old luxury house’s first couture collection in 53 years.
The Georgian fashion designer is prominently known for his contributions to streetwear and integrating the youth-like culture within high fashion. Along with being the current creative director of Balenciaga, Demna is also the co-founder of the luxury fashion brand Vetements. His radical and camp-like design combined with his exhilarating and subtly, ironic fashion shows at Vetements landed him in the esteemed chair at Balenciaga. With Balenciaga appealing to those with an unconventional point of view, the pairing with Demna and his daring perspective just made sense.
Demna’s younger audience may have initially discovered the brand through the highly sought after Balenciaga Triple S sneaker, but it seemed like he wanted to expose them to the core spirit of the house that has always been couture-like. Needless to say, he did so in a way that the streetwear crowd could understand, digest, and potentially see themselves in. For reference, he presented a couture-take on a tracksuit, and designed a long, black coat that extended to the model’s ankles with an elegant hood. At first-glance, however, the coat appears as a dress.
The modern context invites a new audience to not only appreciate haute couture, but to also potentially purchase pieces from the collection. This is a fashion evolution that we were not expecting, but are glad it’s here. The designer was also environmentally conscious while designing this collection fur-free. He showcased his innovation by presenting garments that appeared and moved like real fur and feathers with an advanced craftsman technique using silk.
And in true Demna fashion, there were pinches of camp sprinkled down the runway with the models carrying literal Balenciaga shopping bags and jewelry trays. The show concluded with the Balenciaga bride gracing the runway in a half-transparent veil that extended past the model’s arms and a silk train that followed her at least three feet behind. Attendees cheered expressing their love for the collection – “Well that was a Balenciaga couture show worth waiting for,” tweeted Vanessa Friedman, Chief Fashion Critic at The New York Times.