The Balenciaga show was always bound to be Paris’ hot ticket, what with the arrival of Demna Gvasalia, co-founder of the label I literally want every piece of, Vetements. Filling in the shoes of NYC streetwear king and recently departed, former head designer, Alexander Wang, was surely no mean feat, but it didn’t show. Instead, Gvasalia showed what have fast become signatures of his hip Parisian label: oversized shirts, outsized streetwear, floral silk frocks and Ziggy Stardust-style platform boots.
From his debut show, it was clear that Gvasalia and Balenciaga founder, Cristobal have much more in common than initially thought, as displayed by his awkward play with proportion to perfection. The collection much like those of Vetements’, played with nineties and noughties classics: the slightly garish ski jacket, the puffa jacket and the classic denim jacket, all made an appearance (as did an oversized laundry bag, randomly;) but with off -the -shoulder trench coats, knit twinsets and structured tweeds, Gvasalia managed to elevate the every day, with every look.
There was a heap of English heritage, a pinch of German tourist and- in the understanding of one’s winter needs- a clear nod to his Georgian roots.
Most of all this collection was clever; and inspiring in a way not seen since Nicolas Ghesquiere said sayonara with his space age sweatshirts. I particularly loved the ingenuity of the padded scarfs and the super-sized sunglasses chains.
What Gvasalia (here at Balenciaga and with his brother at Vetements) has managed to do best, is to finally say farewell to the rehashing of eras past, and like Phoebe Philo at Celine, John Galliano at Margiela and J.W Anderson, is to not just continue to reinvent the times, but actually reinvent the clothes, the way wear them and how we see them.
Here’s to at least a few more seasons of that.