Demna Gvasalia Makes a Fascinating Balenciaga Couture Debut

Demna Gvasalia Makes a Fascinating Balenciaga Couture Debut

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Demna Gvasalia Makes a Fascinating Balenciaga Couture Debut

The designer’s first couture collection for Balenciaga also marks the house’s return to haute couture after 53 years. 

The designer’s first couture collection for Balenciaga also marks the house’s return to haute couture after 53 years. 

Text: Luana Harumi

Anticipation for Balenciaga’s 2021 haute couture show had been growing for a while, only accentuated when attentive eyes noticed the label had wiped out their Instagram account and spread minimalist black “Balenciaga Couture” posters announcing the event across Paris days before the presentation. And this was an extra special one: it is not only Balenciaga’s 50th couture collection but it also marks the house’s return to haute couture after 53 years – and the first time under Demna Gvasalia’s creative direction.

The show took place at the original salon of Cristóbal Balenciaga, which has been recently renovated, a departure from Gvasalia’s recent tech and retro-futuristic-oriented settings. The select list of guests included Bella Hadid, Lewis Hamilton, and Kanye West (who showed up wearing a full-face scarf covering, a black version of the YZY GAP Round Jacket, and unmistakable FOAM RNNRs).

Photo via Balenciaga/Instagram.

The collection was presented in roughly 14 minutes, during which the only soundtrack was the ambient harmony of marching models, fabrics rubbing against each other, camera clicks, and the occasional cough (most guests appeared to be wearing face masks).

From the start, it was visible that the collection would pay homage to Cristóbal’s heritage – with Gvasalia’s signature moves over it. Oversized structured blazers and coats combine precise tailoring and more casual denim motifs. Cristóbal’s iconic ample hats were reimagined as sturdy mushroom-like headpieces; extra-long neutral gloves also make an appearance.

Photo via Balenciaga/Instagram.

Cristóbal’s marked, structured collars are channeled through a range of pieces featuring an envelope-shaped V cleavage in various forms and materials, such as the denim jacket, the bright orange dress, a puffer jacket, a faux-fur coat, a feathery dress, and a pantsuit ensemble with a giant matching bow.

Photo via Balenciaga/Instagram.

Simpler silhouettes keep the collection balanced, like the shimmery white dress that looks like it was made in just one simple cut, or the soft oversized robe in yellow, pink, and white. Gvasalia’s streetwear vein can be more explicitly felt through pieces like the red-and-black structured tracksuit and the cocoon-like dress that wraps the whole body. 

Photo via Balenciaga/Instagram.

Other striking designs that take Cristóbal’s familiar shapes for a spin include the ample hot pink jacket-inspired dress and the white embroidered gown that reveals to be actually a blouse and pants set at the back. For the final look, a minimalist bridal dress is paired with a soft veil covering half of the wearer’s body. 

Photo via Balenciaga/Instagram.

Bags came in black clutch box-shaped versions and larger models shaped like sleek shopping totes that said “Balenciaga Couture” in golden letters. The signature alien-like glasses presented in previous collections made a return and are featured in black and silver. 

Photo via Balenciaga/Instagram.

Watch Balenciaga’s full couture show below:

Credits: Cover photo via Balenciaga/Youtube.

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