This morning, Demna Gvasalia showed his latest collection as head of Balenciaga in Paris. Coinciding with the house’s 100th anniversary year, the designer looked once more to the archives, even giving us some of the house’s more recognisable haute couture looks – here’s what you missed.
THE FLOOR WAS BRANDED
As it’s the centenary year, the brand name was front and centre this season – literally, appearing repeated on the catwalk floor. True to Gvasalia’s nature though, this wasn’t an ostentatious branding – in a monochromatic grey, it blended seamlessly into the rest of the set while still clearly celebrating the house itself.
THE COLLECTION WAS INSPIRED BY OLD SCHOOL LOOKBOOKS
From the designer who, last season, gave us Balenciaga fetishwear, this season the inheritance from a house such history was more evident. That’s probably because Gvasalia delved even deeper into the archives this time, looking at unseen photos of Cristóbal Balenciaga’s haute couture – lookbooks before lookbooks were a thing. Capturing “models as they clutch fabric and strike couture attitudes,” this filtered into looks with old-school volume and drama, made contemporary with the addition of bright flashes of the skin-tight boots from last season (in new neon iterations), and Gvasalia’s penchant for fusing different garments together, messing with their construction.
THERE WERE REPURPOSED PIECES
This was evident in some of the materials that were used, which all had an element of ‘found’ items to it. In one instance, a skirt was made of a silver car mat wrapped around the waist. Last season’s oversized bags were often made from the same fabric as the looks they were worn with, as if created from the left over fabric. They were sometimes even made from spare tire covers, which went well with the wing mirror clutch bags (yes, you read that right.)
THERE WERE ACTUAL HAUTE COUTURE LOOKS INCORPORATED
Balenciaga himself never actually made ready to wear – he couldn’t imagine making dresses without knowing who they were going to be worn by. Gvasalia returned to this mentality with the collection, presenting a series of made to order couture looks repurposed from the archive. Each was stamped either with the house’s original BB logo or the year, collection and a description. Several also featured pockets, as a practical thought for the modern, couture-wearing woman.