Balenciaga A/W 2018

Balenciaga A/W 2018

Mood board: For the love of creative director Demna Gvasalia, editors, buyers and fans are willing to trade the glitzy streets of Paris’ city centre for the far-flung corners of Saint-Denis, something that they’ve only previously done for Raf Simons. Guests arrived at a movie set in the Parisian suburb to discover an artificial mountain inside, covered in snow and neon graffiti spelling messages from previous seasons (‘no borders’, ‘2gether’). The nod to streetwear that we have come to expect of Gvasalia and his team.

Best in show: for the brand’s joint men’s and women’s offering, every single trademark Gvasalia piece was here: from the elevated souvenir hoodies (this time printed with the image of a fictional rock band: the Speed Hunters) to the oversized parkas (layered to the nth degree in an exploration of extreme weather dressing, some of them featuring neon-coloured zebra fake fur linings). And, of course, the branded t-shirts, which this time were a collaboration with the NGO World Food Programme, for which Balenciaga will donate $250,000 as well as 10 per cent of t-shirt sales proceeds. But, this being Balenciaga, not everything was about streetwear. The tailored jackets with volume on the hips from Gvasalia’s much-praised first season at Balenciaga also reappeared (as longer coats, among the men’s collections). The body of each model had been scanned in 3D and jackets were laser cut from a single piece of clothing, with just one stitch. A technological feat which had its roots in the Georgian designer’s reflection of what would make Cristóbal Balenciaga stand out as a designer today.

Sound bite: ‘I spent two years exploring what the legacy of Cristóbal would be today, and how a designer could translate it in this house,’ said Gvasalia backstage after the show. ‘The main codes at the house for me are volume and innovation in tailoring because that’s what  you can see this in the archives. My idea was to modernise this.’ On the streetwear pieces and the outerwear layering, he simply stated: ‘aesthetically, I was inspired by the snowboarders of the early 1990s’. The kind of eclectic mix that has defined his work in the last few years.

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