Demna Gvasalia’s debut womenswear Balenciaga show, at Paris fashion week. Photograph: SIPA/Rex/Shutterstock
by Priya Elan, The Guardian, April 21, 2016
For the first time in its 97 year history, iconic Parisian brand Balenciaga has announced its debut menswear runway show. It’s a continuation of the changes under the new creative director, Demna Gvasalia, who also heads up the much lauded Vetements collective.
While Balenciaga has previously showed menswear in a pared-down setting (“look books” rather than full-blown “shows”), this debut is a definitive statement from the label, known for its ultra-feminine style, about the economic importance of menswear, which is growing 1.5 times faster than womenswear.
The appointment of Gvasalia in October last year (following the departure of Alexander Wang), was seen as both controversial and very much part of the fashion zeitgeist: there was a stylistic clash (Vetements’ anarchic take on streetwear and Balenciaga’s urbane sophistication), but also the knowledge that the anti-fashion Vetements is the most exciting thing to happen to the industry in years.
Demna Gvasalia, artistic director of Balenciaga’s collections. Photograph: Balenciaga
The first womenswear Balenciaga show under his leadership, in March, was both spectacular and jarring. It featured distorted silhouettes and exaggerated takes on everyday wear: anoraks sharply shawled, oversize shirts half tucked in, and platform boots with architecturally amplified soles.
Former creative director Alexander Wang, takes a bow at the SS14 Balenciaga show. Photograph: Imaginechina/REX/Shutterstock
And Gvasalia’s “Vetements-ification” of the menswear line is expected to be envelope pushing to the extreme. More extreme than former creative director Alexander Wang, who took the label’s tailoring in an edgy direction. Balenciaga’s last menswear range (a presentation for Spring/Summer 2016) featured a quasi-military theme, full of muted earth tones and an industrial element. Gvasalia could bring his trademark sartorial hallmarks to the new line: enlarged hoodies and anoraks with elongated sleeves. In an official statement, the label promises that the show will “redefine the boundaries of contemporary fashion”.
• The show for the Spring/Summer 2017 collection, will take place during Paris Fashion Week on June 22nd.
This article was written by Priya Elan from The Guardian and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.