Demna Gvasalia keeps on reinventing Balenciaga and surprising us with always new inspirations and parallelism, for which he often focuses on the dichotomy between fashion and anti-fashion. For his Balenciaga spring/summer 2017 collection, he explored the worlds of both high fashion and fetishism, overwhelming the Paris Fashion Week with shocking color-blocking motifs and couture-esque spandex fabrics.
The choice of using such unconventional fabrics does not come by chance. While carrying out research for his new collection, Demna Gvasalia found out that Balenciaga’s founder Cristobal Balenciaga’s most meaningful milestone had been the idea of developing a signature silk organza gazar back in 1958. As Gvasalia also discovered, that year also coincided with the invention of spandex. Thrilled and inspired by such a discovery, he decided to pay homage to both Balenciaga and one of fashion’s most innovative materials – spandex.
“It’s part of my creative process to analyse things and question them,” declared Gvasalia, who wanted Cristobal Balenciaga to be clearly present throughout his entire Balenciaga spring/summer 2017 collection as “a poetic reference.”
The collection, which mainly focused on outerwear, was thus both familiar and new, with the new being less linked to Gvasalia’s Vetements anti-fashion, and more linked to a sort of urban-chic conceptual style this time around.
He did, however, still focus on oversized figures, as seen both within the range of trench coats and jackets. To make them look sharper and more geometrically shaped, he even inserted a whalebone across the shoulders, making his avant-garde, unconventional touch imperceptible at first glance.
As a whole, the Balenciaga spring 2017 ready-to-wear collection was, in fact, less about Demna Gvasalia and more about Cristobal Balenciaga, with small hints of Balenciaga’s signature touches being omnipresent in almost every single staple.
The broad, rectangular shoulders came directly from Cristobal Balenciaga’s menswear collection from the Eighties, while the ultra-polished relaxed silhouettes, as seen in the line of silky shirts and gowns, reminded us of Cristobal Balenciaga’s most conventionally feminine touch.
With spandex being mainly utilized for the super-stretchy cuissardes and leggings, the Balenciaga spring/summer 2017 collection was inevitably multi-colored too, with blues and reds being particularly predominant. To ease their brightness up, Gvasalia opted for small pops of beige, burgundy, gray and white, which also reminded of Cristobal Balenciaga’s collections throughout the years.
This collection featured, however, another important key element, namely the loads of floral patterns. Those were vibrant Lilly Pulitzer-inspired floral designs, and added an haute couture touch to almost everything, from hourglass blouses to jumpsuits, from high-waisted skinny jeans to oversized dresses. Textured and heavyweight-looking, the floral patterns inevitably created an appealing contrast with the spandex-made staples.
As for the Balenciaga spring/summer 2017 must-have staples, being all about outerwear, the collection also brought in an astounding amount of raincoats, bomber jackets and, of course, trench coats, which will surely be practical when the rain starts randomly pouring in the middle of May. Of course, the signature Market Bag is to be mentioned too, as it got revisited in an edgier striped version (to be fairly honest, all of the accessories were on point!).
One more thing is worth mentioning about Gvasalia’s runway show: while for his debut Balenciaga collection he faced a lot of criticisms for the lack of diversity of the models cast, this time around he embraced multiculturalism, proving that it is always good to be humble and listen to criticism. We hope more designers will follow his example when unveiling the next seasonal collections!
Photos courtesy of Vogue