Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion

In London right now, the Victoria & Albert Museum is busy preparing a new exhibition, Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion, which opens in May. Meanwhile, in Paris, the storied label was busy preparing its Fall/Winter 2017 collection, the third ready-to-wear instalment from Demna Gvasalia. It’s still the hot ticket, the brand in his hands now alluding an austere cool that derives from Gvasalia’s own label, Vetements.

“Today there is great interest in the Balenciaga brand and its new creative director,” says Cassie Davies-Strodder, the curator of the exhibition that coincides with the centenary of the founding of the fashion house by Cristóbal Balenciaga, and the 80th anniversary of the opening of his famous fashion house in Paris. Making it the ideal time to stage the exhibition, which focuses mostly on the era 1950 to 1960, acknowledged as one of Balenciaga’s most creative periods.

“Cristóbal Balenciaga became one of the most influential fashion designers of the 20th Century due to the enduring and modern appeal of his designs and his uncompromising integrity and vision," explains Davies-Strodder. “Both Balenciaga and Gvasalia share an independent vision. Gvasalia cites Balenciaga’s 360 degree approach to looking at the body as a key influence on his work.”

 


The Balenciaga Fall/Winter 2017 ready-to-wear show in Paris (by Gio Staiano for NOWFASHION)

 

Today’s show certainly tapped into this: aside from the signature layered looks - and some new babydoll apron-style dresses - there came a finale procession of ball gowns which marked the re-introduction of Balenciaga’s haute couture history. A selection of shapes and volumes from the couture archive were here re-interpreted with the practical addition of pockets, and are available made to order. There were tiered empire line numbers, one a serious fluster of feathers with a matching bag, all of them huge, dramatic showstoppers that swept through the catwalk space. This would be how to make an entrance.  

If there’s one criticism that Demna has received, it’s that - much like Alessandro Michele at Gucci - for both his own brand and Balenciaga, the collections tend to stay tight to what they know and what we’ve seen. They can be deemed repetitive. So the introduction of this eveningwear strand added a new dimension and was a welcome push to show the potential of the brand, beyond that of the Vetements’ obscurity - much loved though the look still is.

Of course, said quirks and oddities, subversions and spanners in the fashion works were still at play on the catwalk too. Jackets and coats were contorted into cape-shawls that had a Lady of the Manor elegance to them, swathed over the shoulder and fastened on occasion with a brooch. In fact, there was a lot of jewellery to be seen – wrists laden with bangles and clustered with charm bracelets, a scarf here and there.

Elsewhere, and obvious in the shirts that protruded at the back and skirts that pointed out oddly at the hip, was “the reconsideration of existing objects”. The realisation of which was in fact car-mats made into wrap skirts or patched to the back of shirts. There were nylon spare tire covers for totes, wing mirrors as clutch bags. It was industrial and industrious.

“Additionally, they [Balenciaga and Gvasalia] have not shied away from challenging the fashion system and the way they operate in it,” Davies-Strodder continues - and sums it up: “The brand will continue to transform and challenge the fashion industry norms, whether that be in pioneering new silhouettes through clever cutting and design ingenuity or through changing the way in which it presents its collections.”

 

Read the latest fashion features and trend reports in NOWmagazine.

SHARE
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
SIMILAR ARTICLES
A Verdict on Digital Fashion Week
By Fabio Ciquera
In the past two weeks, we have witnessed an array of different and varied virtual presentations,...
By Fabio Ciquera
In the past two weeks, we have witnessed an array of different and varied virtual presentations, online happenings and symposia. One cannot accuse luxury houses to lack inventiveness, and there is a genuine appreciation for the quick turnaround in moving everything online. From Loewe to Prada and...
In the past two weeks, we have witnessed an array of different and varied virtual presentations, online happenings and symposia. One cannot accuse luxury houses to lack inventiveness, and there is a genuine appreciation for the quick turnaround in moving everything online. From Loewe to Prada and Dior, among the many names, the creative solutions have been exciting to watch. This new reality...
Revival LDN: The Upcycled Fashion Brand Aiming At Helping the Environment
By Alice Ierace
For years now, many fashion brands have added sustainability to their vocabulary and, through...
By Alice Ierace
For years now, many fashion brands have added sustainability to their vocabulary and, through research and proposals, have tried to lessen the fashion industry’s huge impact on the environment. However, despite the efforts, many are still the fast-fashion brands ignoring the issue. The problem is...
For years now, many fashion brands have added sustainability to their vocabulary and, through research and proposals, have tried to lessen the fashion industry’s huge impact on the environment. However, despite the efforts, many are still the fast-fashion brands ignoring the issue. The problem is that, no matter how sustainable they deem they are, we are still living in a fast-paced environment...
Reflections on Life post Lockdown at MFW
By Alice Ierace and Elisa Carassai
Etro Kicking off day two of Milan Fashion Week was ETRO presenting its Men’s Spring Summer 2021...
By Alice Ierace and Elisa Carassai
By Alice Ierace and Elisa Carassai
Etro Kicking off day two of Milan Fashion Week was ETRO presenting its Men’s Spring Summer 2021 and Women’s Resort 2021 collections with an informal gathering at Milan’s iconic Four Seasons Hotel. “We are finally back together, in the garden of this iconic hotel, in the heart of Milan’s...
Etro Kicking off day two of Milan Fashion Week was ETRO presenting its Men’s Spring Summer 2021 and Women’s Resort 2021 collections with an informal gathering at Milan’s iconic Four Seasons Hotel. “We are finally back together, in the garden of this iconic hotel, in the heart of Milan’s Montenapoleone district. We want to highlight that we are a family, that Etro is a family living in a world...
White Mountaineering Brings Back BLK Line
By Elisa Carassai
Showcasing at Paris Fashion Week, ’s White Mountaineering is the creative baby of Japanese...
By Elisa Carassai
Showcasing at Paris Fashion Week, ’s White Mountaineering is the creative baby of Japanese designer Yosuke Aizawa. This season, the designer not only presented an exclusive film directed by Daito Manabe from the Rhizomatiks, but he also decided to relaunch his original BLK line. Launched in 2009,...
Showcasing at Paris Fashion Week, ’s White Mountaineering is the creative baby of Japanese designer Yosuke Aizawa. This season, the designer not only presented an exclusive film directed by Daito Manabe from the Rhizomatiks, but he also decided to relaunch his original BLK line. Launched in 2009, White Mountaineering’s BLK Line proposed a new feel to outdoor wear with high-spec textiles and...
Digital Meets Local at Sunnei
By Elisa Carassai
Before lockdown started, Loris Messina and Simone Rizzo...
By Elisa Carassai
By Elisa Carassai
Before lockdown started, Loris Messina and Simone Rizzo were supposed to move in their newly-bought building, Casa Sunnei. Not being able to move in, and stuck quarantining home, the duo started reflecting on what they could do to move forward, at a slower...
Before lockdown started, Loris Messina and Simone Rizzo were supposed to move in their newly-bought building, Casa Sunnei. Not being able to move in, and stuck quarantining home, the duo started reflecting on what they could do to move forward, at a slower pace.  “During the lockdown, I realized we were moving at a pace that was too fast - we were...
A Play of Poetics at MFW
By Elisa Carassai
MSGM’s Midsummer Night’s Dream Kicking off the first day of Milan’s Digital Fashion Week was...
By Elisa Carassai
By Elisa Carassai
MSGM’s Midsummer Night’s Dream Kicking off the first day of Milan’s Digital Fashion Week was Massimo Giorgetti’s MSGM, with a film celebrating the new Milanese generation of young creatives, as well as the joy of life post-lockdown. Inspired by writer Isabella Santacroce’s book Fluo: Storie di...
MSGM’s Midsummer Night’s Dream Kicking off the first day of Milan’s Digital Fashion Week was Massimo Giorgetti’s MSGM, with a film celebrating the new Milanese generation of young creatives, as well as the joy of life post-lockdown. Inspired by writer Isabella Santacroce’s book Fluo: Storie di Giovani a Riccione (“Fluo: Stories of Young People in Riccione”) – who also happens to be from...
Purity and Tradition Intertwine at MFW
By Alice Ierace
Prada and The Show That Never HappenedFew people do fashion quite like Miuccia Prada. After the...
By Alice Ierace
Prada and The Show That Never HappenedFew people do fashion quite like Miuccia Prada. After the announcement back in February stating that Raf Simons would become the brand’s new co-creative director, today we were lucky enough to witness Miuccia’s last solo collection – her final bow after three...
Prada and The Show That Never HappenedFew people do fashion quite like Miuccia Prada. After the announcement back in February stating that Raf Simons would become the brand’s new co-creative director, today we were lucky enough to witness Miuccia’s last solo collection – her final bow after three decades of unforgettable shows.Of course, a simple presentation wasn’t in the plan – it needed that...
Auralee’s Imaginary Journey Through Time
By Alice Ierace
Firstly launched in Tokyo, designer Ryota Iwai decided to present Auralee’s latest Spring/Summer...
By Alice Ierace
Firstly launched in Tokyo, designer Ryota Iwai decided to present Auralee’s latest Spring/Summer 21 collection during digital Paris Fashion Week as one of the major independent fashion brands.As a brand, Auralee is renowned for its magnificent clean silhouettes, impeccable quality and minimal...
Firstly launched in Tokyo, designer Ryota Iwai decided to present Auralee’s latest Spring/Summer 21 collection during digital Paris Fashion Week as one of the major independent fashion brands.As a brand, Auralee is renowned for its magnificent clean silhouettes, impeccable quality and minimal styling. Its aim? A full exploration into the development of their own fabrics. By taking inspiration...