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So, What Do You Think of The New Balenciaga?

Puff jackets of couture proportions? We're sold.

There’s no denying that Demna Gvasalia (that’s deem-na va-sa-lee-ah), spokesperson and designer for the mysterious Vetements and newly-installed creative director of Balenciaga, is the new It kid of fashion. Everything he touches seems to turn into gold. Anything stamped with “Vetements” affords instant cool, whether it’s an ironic DHL t-shirt or a pair of literal sock boots. With his soaring popularity and stupendous success with Vetements, should one feel inclined to like Balenciaga? Do we like it, really?

Shortly after Gvasalia’s Balenciaga in Paris, I received a text from a friend with her verdict on the collection. While she admitted that it was extremely cool, she found it “too street” for such a storied house. I thought about it for a while and eventually replied that I completely disagreed. I found it to be very Balenciaga. I thought it was Balenciaga for the “now”. I then sent over this portrait of the legendary Dovima in Balenciaga – and said friend understood.

Cristóbal Balenciaga was famed for his technical skill and ability to create sculptural clothing that rested away from the body. Cocoon coats were his thing first. Instead of plainly recreating and updating Balenciaga’s signature shapes though, Gvasalia stripped them down to their bones and adapted them for the “now”, for the woman who has more use for a waterproof puff jacket than a big, fancy embellished coat. With the rise of the street over the jet-set, clothing like the former are now more relevant than ever.

That’s not to say that the collection was practical to the point of boring. It was anything but. Gvasalia has his own brand of panache that’s very – for lack of a better word – modern. He knows that we want the everyday stuff, but we don’t want them to look like the everyday stuff, god forbid. The outerwear, from the denim jackets to the parkas, were of couture proportions. Then, there were the skinny sequinned dresses that passed as evening wear, and the floral tent dresses gave a touch of whimsy theatricality that was fitting for a debut. Like Alessandro Michele a.k.a. the other It kid, Gvasalia’s Balenciaga offers a wardrobe of choices that speaks to the cool crowd and the influential street style set, but there’s elegance and tailoring befitting a luxury house. It’s just so dang smart and so dang relevant.

Gvasalia’s completely captured the zeitgeist of fashion today. As he’s done with Vetements, he has made Balenciaga very “now” – and it took just one collection.

Now, it’s your turn to talk. Do you think Gvasalia’s debut lived up to the hype?

Runway Images: Vogue.com

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