The Essentials. Balenciaga Pre-Fall 2023

Balenciaga‘s pre-fall 2023 look-book – made up of dressing room selfies – is a cleverly staged invitation for the customers to come back to the brand’s shops. And a reminder, much like Demna’s winter runway show in Paris, that the Balenciaga creative director remains one of the key architects of the look of contemporary fashion. The emphasis on exaggerated suiting, the embrace of couture-ish shapes, and the return of rave jeans – all of that is covered, just in time as the new season clothes start hitting the shops. Double-breasted black blazers were alternately puffed up with a layer of padding, or cropped at the hips, with the hems tucked under in almost makeshift fashion. A third was worn like a wrap, its buttons askew. Demna cut similar styles in glen plaids and checks. More so than the runways, Balenciaga’s pre-season collections are devoted to daily wear. And so there were oversize parkas, peacoats and trenches with more of those folded under hems, fluid velvet sweatsuit separates in surprising pastels, and denim in both raver proportions and a newer skinny cut lopped off at the knees. Standing in for the dramatic evening dresses in the March show were a couple of full-length looks in a quotidian key, one dress in a body-conscious knit and a shrunken logo hoodie and matching ankle-length skirt in what looked like stretch velvet. The accessories game is strong too: Le Cagole comes in sportier shapes, and Pantashoes are revisited in Margiela-esque fishnet overlays.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
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