At Balenciaga it's Cristobal Gvasalia
Sometimes the key thing in fashion is which designer creates the most contemporary clothes, those that best capture the current aesthetic and sociological mood. And, today in Paris, there is no brand more now, more of the moment, than Balenciaga under the guidance of its rebellious designer Demna Gvasalia.
After a few seasons of carefully interpreting the codes of Balenciaga, this was really Demna’s dashing, arty street version of the famed house. His opening idea was looking at images of how bourgeois ladies dress in many countries, because, the Georgian designer smiled backstage, “that’s not something I don’t know a lot about, but fused with my idea of street and casual.”
And if there is one thing the bourgeoisie cares about, it’s money: hence one third of the looks came in currency prints – from pink dollars, to red or blue euros. Any Georgian currency, enquired one editor? “No,” responded the Georgian émigré designer. “I have forgotten what it looks like.”
His new take started from the ground up, seeing as he had the most revolutionary footwear on display this season. From the fantastic boots, which morphed into hosiery made of prints of bucolic mountain and countryside views, that were all culled from screen saver shots from the Internet. The same prints used in multiple layer trousers, an idea he took from his menswear for Balenciaga. To the witty Crocs made into platforms and covered with badges ad pins.
Above all, Gvasalia cuts with great authority, beautifully hung plaid lumberjack shirts to divine billowing party frocks. Gvasalia can overburden his cast: many of them walking in multiple layered looks, where halves of coats, capes, trenches and dresses were sewn together. All joined at the neckline. And dovetailing with founder Cristobal’s famed love of volume.
Yet, often, his finest looks were his simplest – black lace singlets worn with ruched and ruffled polka-dot skirts that were quite simply perfectly cut.
Humor is the key to today’s Balenciaga: from placing spring-summer 2018 on the shoulders of jerseys; bangles done like cheap tourist glass tumblers; to a series of tops done in a newspaper print.
“It was all blind text but happy photos. We only publish positive news. Good fake news!”, laughed Gvasalia, dressed in a nylon jerkin with a huge yellow FBI logo.
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