Four collections in and Demna Gvasalia is well and truly getting into the swing of things at Balenciaga. Today the designer kicked off Paris Men’s Fashion Week with his second (AW17) menswear collection which, according to the show notes, represented a twisted take on corporate dress, concealing “modernising warmth, softness and comfort into the stiff archetypes of business attire.” While you wait for Emma Hope Allwood’s review of the show, here’s a quick breakdown of what went down.
Last season Gvasalia toyed with the idea of tailoring and attempted to bring it “out of its usual frame” – and this afternoon’s show saw a continuation of this theme. What you need to know about the designer’s approach to tailoring is that it’s about two things: attitude and shape. Imbued with a rebellious spirit, this season’s suits comprised of “roomily-tailored” jackets and super-low cut and very narrow trousers.
THE NOD TO KERING
Kering, for those of you who don’t know, is the company that owns Balenciaga along with a string of other labels including Gucci, Saint Laurent and a majority share of Alexander McQueen. The group’s HQ is now on the same premises as Balenciaga and it seems like Gvasalia want to make a slightly tongue-in-cheek reference to the fact through hoodies emblazoned with the company’s logo.
So the bags were kind of amazing. In addition to those Thai market bags that made waves at Demma’s debut, the designer presented some paper bags – only they weren’t made out of paper, they were constructed from leather. He also sent some handbags and clutches down the runway (who said they were just for women?) that models wore on their shoulders, or else casually swung at from their hands.
THE BERNIE SANDERS LOGO
If this logo looks familiar, that’s because it is: its the one used by Bernie Sanders during his unfortunately unsuccessful 2016 presidential campaign. Swapping his name for that of Balenciaga, Gvasalia has created the ultimate pro-Bernie (and anti-Trump?) fashion item.
THE OLDER CASTING
Demna’s Balenciaga is, as already mentioned, all about attitude and this seems to be the only qualifying factor for its models. While the designer previously faced criticism for the all-white cast at his debut show, he’s taken that on board and embraced a diversity that doesn’t just include different ethnicities but different generations too. While the majority of male models on the runway are between 16 and 21, this afternoon’s cast featured several men in their middle ages.
THE ORTHOPEDIC TRAINERS
Finally, something for the sneakheads. Aside from a couple of models who wore a reiteration of a motorcycle boot, the majority of them showcased colourful trainers with thick, orthopedic soles.