Let’s talk about Balenciaga...
The origins of the Balenciaga brand
Cristóbal Balenciaga, known as the "Picasso of the fashion world", opened his first boutique in Saint Sébastien in 1919, but it was in 1937 when he opened his first atelier in Paris that he became internationally renowned.
The Spanish designer was distinguished by his perfect cuts, architectural forms and perfectly refined lines. He eagerly used color.
He was inspired, among other things, by working-class clothing - loose fishing shirts and hats - and by the works of Spanish Renaissance painters.
Cristóbal's career flourished in the 1950s and 1960s. He created innovative and bold cuts and styles for those times, but despite his dynamic growth and rightful admiration, the designer decided to close his brand in 1968. Prominent French fashion houses such as Dior and Chanel were beginning to focus more on ready-to-wear collections, which did not quite suit the couturier.
Balenciaga returned to the fashion world in 1986, thanks to Jacques Bogart S.A. At that time, the first ready-to-wear collections began to appear, but their reviews were not very flattering. The fate of the Spanish brand turned around only in 1997, when Nicolas Ghesquiere - a French-Belgian designer known for his avant-garde ideas - became its creative director. He held this position until 2012, when he was replaced by Alexander Wang, an equally talented fan of austere minimalism. Since 2015 this position has been held by a designer of Georgian origin, Demna Gvasalia, and it is thanks to him that Balenciaga is on the lips of all fashion lovers.
The story of the Georgian designer
who turned the fashion world upside down
Demna Gvasalia was born in Georgia on March 25, 1981.
At the age of 12, he and his family had to flee their home because of the brutal civil war that started in the early 1990s.
In 1997, he began studying economics at Tbilisi State University, graduating in 2001.
Shortly after, he moved with his parents to Germany. Since he always wanted to work in the fashion world, he eventually moved to Antwerp, Belgium, where he enrolled at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts and graduated with a Master's degree in Fashion Design in 2006.
Demna Gvasalia worked for over 3 years at the French fashion house Maison Margiela before becoming a senior designer at Louis Vuitton in 2013. In 2014, he opened the VETEMENTS brand with his brother and close friends and presented his first women's ready-to-wear collection in Paris in October of the same year. A year later, he took over as creative director of the fashion house Balenciaga, and in 2019 he officially left the VETEMENTS brand. In an interview with the WWD portal, he commented on his departure with the following words: "I started Vetements because I was bored of fashion and against all odds fashion did change once and forever since Vetements appeared and it also opened a new door for so many. So I feel that I have accomplished my mission of a conceptualist and design innovator at this exceptional brand and Vetements has matured into a company that can evolve its creative heritage into a new chapter on its own".
Why Balenciaga's anti-fashion aesthetic
changed the definition of luxury in fashion -
Demna as a creator artist
Demna Gvasalia's greatest inspiration is everyday clothes - the infinite possibility to interpret, wear and rework them. The downright anti-fashion designs created first for his own brand Vetements and later for Balenciaga turned the definition of luxury upside down, redirecting fashion towards streetwear and normcore, making it more inclusive and interesting to a wide audience.
Demna brought street fashion into the living rooms, speaking to a whole new generation of customers in their own language. Breaking the conventional rules of the fashion world, he focused primarily on accessories with the iconic logo such as hats, glasses and the practical sneakers loved by all. His casual designs instantly became popular products - invitations to further discover the extraordinary Balenciaga universe.
The Georgian designer's projects are a fascinating deconstruction of everyday life. The memification and recontextualization of fashion, viral campaigns and unorthodox solutions have guided trends for the entire industry, making Balenciaga's designs true objects of desire. For several seasons, the Spanish fashion house has been on the lips of not only interested fashion fans, unequivocally reigning in the rankings in terms of the number of searches in web browsers or mentions in social media.
The phenomenon of the Spanish brand shoes -
why they are the biggest objects of desire
Fashion houses are racing with ideas to create unique sneakers, ready not only to look phenomenal but also, thanks to innovative technologies, to accompany their owners in extreme conditions and countless adventures. Demna Gvasalia has just released a limited collection of 'The Paris Sneakers' that look... like they have been through everything. They are absurd - but that is exactly what they are supposed to be. Demna's designs stir emotions.
The first sports shoe model created by the Georgian designer for Balenciaga was the record-breaking, brazenly clumsy 'Triple S' with a massive triple sole. He made the trend for 'dad shoes' - shoes associated with 'dads' who don't know anything about fashion - conquer the industry and set it's course for many seasons to come.
Balenciaga continues to surprise with designs that immediately become fodder for memes, gaining viral publicity not only among fashion lovers. The inspiration for customized shoes often comes from other elements of clothing, such as jeans or the iconic 'Cagole' bag model. It is also hard to be indifferent to the 'Chevalier Derby' model, referring to the medieval knight's armor, or the grotesque cooperation with Crocs. The last object of desire among exclusive sneakers is the 'Defender' model inspired by... tires.
The most interesting and surprising collections
World of technology
ready-to-wear spring 2019
Digital artist Jon Rafman was responsible for the set design for the Spring 2019 show, creating a surreal tunnel that blurs the lines between reality and the world of technology. A visual eruption spitting out digital magma of images and data accompanied the stunning collection, in which the distinctive exaggerated shoulder lines and sculptural almost constructions, described by Gvasalie himself as 'neo-tailoring', played a central role. Well-known closet elements were redefined to respond to the needs and aesthetics of the youngest generation of fashion lovers. The designer has once again proven his ability to keep a close eye on street fashion and elevate something mundane to a work of art in a non-obvious way.
The return to the brand's
kindness haute couture
collection for autumn 2021
"This is the house where couture for me is kind of like innate, the essence. "It's not just a legacy - it's Cristóbal Balenciaga's legacy." This unique collection, Demna Gvasalia presented along the lines of Cristóbal's old shows. Models posed for photos with numbered silhouettes, and among the styling accessories we could see the Spanish designer's beloved gloves and elegant, voluminous hats. The Georgian welcomed guests with perfectly tailored suits and tailored creations, a combination of the brand's rich past and innovative futurism. The haute couture collection also featured oversized T-shirts, denim and... tracksuits. However, it was not much of a surprise when compared to the avant-garde dresses, which, impressing with their extremely unique cuts, closed the whole show.
resort 2022 collection
"It's a show that never happened"
Demna Gvasala's love affair with the latest technologies continues at its best. The Georgian designer takes under the microscope not only the breathtaking possibilities, but also the digital dangers of the ever-deepening merging of our reality with the virtual world. For Spring 2022, Balenciaga presented 'Clones' - the first ever show made with deep fake technology. Models with computer-generated clone faces of the artist Eliza Douglas walked on a fake catwalk. The fake audience was able to admire real creations, drawing handfuls of inspiration from failed street fashion and the real experiences of the designer himself. Demna Gvasalia also challenges the boundaries of authenticity through a surprising collaboration with Gucci - the 'Hacker Project' - that accompanies the collection. We can see 'real fakes', accessories in the characteristic colors with the 'Web' stripe and the iconic monogram reworked into... Balenciaga logo.