#2016 – Demna Gvasalia

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Vetements

Demna Gvasalia and the design collective behind Vetements presented more than one sin in the gothic-style Cathedral of America during their autumn-winter 2016 show. After a sleazy sex-club Le Depot and a cheesy Chinese restaurant, a church seemed to be the next unconventional choice for a show venue – however, the clothes purely (re)defined Vetements and it’s already well known, anti-fashion approach. Calling it a street wear brand is a colossal mistake, when you see the prices of these very well-manufactured coats and dresses, but in fact, Vetements is based on the sweat-shirts, which are transformed into new silhouettes every season. Moving away from the over-sized one, which stormed all the retail points last season, this time the hoodies had something of a zombie-look – the shoulders were lost somewhere in translation, and the solemn faces of the street-cast models perfectly matched the atmosphere of this undergound-kinky collection. The slogans – Sexual Fantasies, Big Daddy, for instance – had nothing in common with a proper communion

Haute couture, or high dressmaking, refers to the art of creating exclusive, custom-fitted fashion for awfully rich women (and men). Couture is constructed by so called petites mains, the little hands of Parisian ateliers, who consider high quality, expensive textiles and extreme attention to detail as their priority. This long and exhausting definition of haute couture applies to all houses who have their exclusive lines working hard to satisfy their high-end customers. Spoiler: Vetements certainly doesn’t match this crowd.

When Demna Gvasalia‘s off-beat label appeared on the calendar of haute couture week in Paris, no one was sure what’s coming. At the beginning of this year, Vetements declared the change of their fashion show schedule, making it more “realistic” for them, and their customers; also, the brand, which is on everybody’s lips, decided to show womenswear and menswear in one show, just like few other brands lately. So, what did really happen during Vetements’ show, in the middle of Elie Saab and Zuhair Murad glamorama? Let’s look back at it.

Vetements is known for eerie venues, but Galerie Lafayette can be named as one of the most surreal choices up to date. The runway was located along the aisles of cosmetics, perfumes and sales, letting other brands’ logos interact with the fashion collectives’ ready-to-wear. But the meaning of “collaboration” reached further than that – it was a collection made entirely with other brands, including Juicy Couture, Brioni, Schott, Levi’s, Comme des Garçons Shirt, Reebok, Canada Goose, Dr. Martens, Alpha Industries, Eastpak, Lucchesse, Mackintosh and even Manolo Blahnik. An extraordinary company equals an explosive effect. Moreover, brands listed above benefitted from this occasion – Juicy Couture’s velour track suits suddenly became ironically “cool” again, while Manolo was willing to go all the way with exaggerating his duchess satin stilettos. “We’ve done thigh-high, so we asked, could you go waist-high this time for us?” Demna said backstage with excitement. Brioni, Italian tailoring brand for men, which is currently revamped under Justin O’Shea’s wings, let Vetements elongate and recut their classical blazers; Eastpak, every travellers’ favourite producer of backpacks, contributed to creation of the first, Vetements clutch.

We thought we’d go straight to the brands who make all these things best, and ask to do something in our way with each one,” Gvasalia said. “The people who work at Vetements don’t really wear designer fashion—a lot of these are the labels they wear all the time.” The collection, in overall, is pure Vetements, even though the denim is by Levi’s and boots are from Texas’ cult Lucchesse. Styling is raw, while all beauty cannons are thrown away to the trash, looking at the models. If you’re desperate to seek the most couture-ish part of the collection, then it’s Juicy Couture’s velvet eveningwear – sleek, hooded dresses with zircon embellishments are sexy and somewhat… huh, elegant.

Balenciaga

We’re talking about Balenciaga now – the house, which was found by Cristobal Balenciaga in 1919, which raised the designer of our century, Nicolas Ghesquiere, and went under a three-year period of uncertainty with Alexander Wang‘s miserable tumblr-meets-couture attempts. But Demna is a designer, who knows best how to create desirable fashion which will sell (Vetements sales turnout is the perfect example) – the unexpected choice of him as the creative director of this historic maison is both exciting and well-reasoned.

But if you think that Gvasalia is about to change Balenciaga into a higher-cost Vetements, then you’re wrong – the autumn-winter outing seemed to state visible barriers between the post-Soviet soul of the eponymous brand, as it freshly implemented the spirit of Balenciaga into a modern-day wardrobe of pure edginess. Back in the days, Cristobal wanted to look into fashion’s future, and Gvasalia understands that, by giving the audience over-sized, cosmic duvet jackets, leather market bags and embroidered tea-dresses. The floral prints were a bold nod to Balenciaga’s temperament and Spanish origins – while the tailoring, also a long-forgotten signature of the house, was revamped. “How do you persuade a woman to wear a two-piece suit who is not the German Chancellor?” Grey, flannel two-button jacket and a slit pencil skirt, in which the shoulders were slightly over-sized, “was the posture and the attitude, and Cristóbal’s way of working with the body I found interesting.

In other words, Gvasalia’s debut for Balenciaga isn’t favoured by me and by others just because it’s a debut – these clothes, the concept, and the styling are ground-breaking and intriguingly look back at the codes of Cristobal Balenciaga.

Honestly, Balenciaga‘s spring-summer 2017 collection has been the most anticipated show of the entire Paris Fashion Week. In the most unobvious ways, Demna revives Balenciaga’s couture elements since his first season, reinterpreting the brand’s archives and writing a new chapter. For spring, the Georgian designer explores the intimate relationship between couture and fetishism – two unlikely things that in fact are closely related to each other. Obsessive interest in achieving a result of absolute beauty, which goes in pair with wearing couture, is dangerously connected to a nearly sexual pleasure. When Cristobal’s maison was at its peak, a synthetic, stretchy fabric appeared in 1958 – spandex. Of course, Balenciaga’s aesthetic didn’t match with nonchalance of spandex at those times. But in 2016, Demna feels a strong connection between ‘kinkiness’ of spandex, and haute couture’s endless desire of looking perfect.

Just like couture, spandex isn’t easy. But this didn’t stop Demna and his studio to send out a line of models wearing spandex in the brightest colours and the most eye-catchy, floral prints. The stilettos (which transformed into leggings-like pants) were jaw-dropping. He kept them in purple, orange, pink and even white in order to nail it to the fullest. The semi-shoes, semi-pants looked eerily sexy and glamorous, to a surprise. Gvasalia’s thing for fetish didn’t end here: latex capes, extremely sleek silhouettes and patent leather were the show’s highlights, too.

Gvasalia’s troubled youth in Georgia affected his future mind. When he was young, he was starving for the new; now, he can easily convey those childhood cravings into a multifaceted collection for a very grown-up house. Striped market totes resembled the bags from bazaars, which stored fake Adidas and Levis, so well-remembered to the generation of the post-Iron Curtain. Ornamental brooches made me think of cheesy souvenirs which are easily available in the nearest Euro-shop. The nails with zircons had a lot to do with the 2000s Paris Hilton over-the-top style. And then, the music that still hides in the depths of your grandpa’s Nokia: Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” and Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game“. The final effect? Demna left the guests panting and drooling over his jackets with shoulder pads, granny dresses and trench-parkas.

It certainly was his year.

Résumé. Balenciaga Pre-Fall’16

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Balenciaga is another label which postpones its pre-collection release, taking Céline‘s and The Row‘s path. Moreover, there’s another reason why this pre-fall 2016 collection is a major highlight for the house. In fact, it was designed between the abrupt period of Alexander Wang’s departure from the maison, and styled during the first days of Demna Gvasalia‘s appearance. The press release informs that the collection wasn’t fully supervised by Demna, so the autumn-winter 2016 can be called his official debut – however, there are distinct twists coming from Balenciaga’s design studio, which will be surely approved by all Vetements fans. From over-sized hoodies to floral dresses, some of the looks could be easily understood as even pricier pieces coming straight from Vetements’ showroom. The next, much more sophisticated, all-black looks worn by Stella Tennant and Julia Nobis aren’t that simple, though, focusing on Cristobal Balenciaga’s famous body-sculpture play. The collection quietly nods to Nicolas Ghesquiere’s era, with this must-have aviator jacket with a shearling collar. Not surprisingly, Alexander Wang’s three-or-so year-long “legacy” is erased utterly, and hopefully, it will never come back.

The idea of photographing the models in a Balenciaga archive warehouse is brilliant, and it shapes an image of a brand, which wisely balances the past and the future. The very commercial, fur stoles with huge BALENCIAGA written all over them will sell immediately, I guess, just like Gvasalia’s vision for the house. Not that this collection is a masterpiece. But still, it builds strong foundation for Demna, makes a résumé of the past, and eventually, might become the season’s best-seller.

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Demna’s Chapter. Balenciaga AW16

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Something new is afoot Paris, and it’s good. I think it’s the energy of youth, which contrasts with the old-school, corporate system. Koché, Jacquemus, Y / Project and Vetements prove that, with their recently delivered collection. But if talking of the last one, though – Demna Gvasalia leads this talented league, and pushes his vision to a much larger space of expression. And we are talking about Balenciaga now – the house, which was found by Cristobal Balenciaga in 1919, which raised the designer of our century, so Nicolas Ghesquiere, and went under a three-year period of uncertainty with Alexander Wang‘s miserable sport-meets-couture attempts. But Demna is a designer, who knows best how to create desirable fashion which is going to sell (Vetements sales turnout is the perfect example) – so, the unexpected choice of him as the creative director of the historic maison is both exciting, and reasonable.

But if you think that Gvasalia is about to change Balenciaga into a higher-cost Vetements, then you are wrong – the autumn-winter outing seemed to state visible barriers between the post-Soviet, anti-fashion soul from the eponymous brand, as it freshly implemented the spirit of Balenciaga into a modern-day wardrobe of pure edginess. Back in the days, Cristobal wanted to look into fashion’s future, and Gvasalia understands that, by giving the audience over-sized, cosmic duvet jackets, leather market bags and embroidered tea-dresses. The floral prints were a bold nod to Balenciaga’s temperament and Spanish origins – while the tailoring, also a long-forgotten signature of the house, was revamped. “How do you persuade a woman to wear a two-piece suit who is not the German Chancellor?” Grey, flannel two-button jacket and a slit pencil skirt, in which the shoulders were slightly over-sized, “was the posture and the attitude, and Cristóbal’s way of working with the body I (Demna) found interesting.

In other words, Gvasalia’s debut for Balenciaga isn’t favoured by me, and by other critics just because it’s a debut – these clothes, the concept, and the styling are ground-breaking, and smartly look back at the rich archives of Cristobal Balenciaga. Unlike his predecessor, Demna Gvasalia looks forward to a much more creative approach, and even if we’ve seen a few of those tricks at Vetements – the new chapter at Balenciaga is the one to have on your radar.

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Simbolismo Religioso in Fashion

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Very soon I am going to visit Florence, the magical capital city of beautiful Tuscany! As I am now in a Dolce Vita mood, so a bit inspired with Dolce & Gabbana that may not feel so sweet life for a moment, I thought of the religious symbolism in fashion- not of this season, but from 1960 year when Cristobal Balencaiag designed his bridal dress with nuns head dressing inspired hat to Les Novices where Brigitte Bardot stars as a newcoming female nun that just don’t real know what to do and sins a lot there and there… I thought of Sevillas Santa Semanas holiday and the splendor of Vatican church that I truly love! And if Church women would wear Alexander McQueen Pre-Fall 2013, then it would perfectly match at Brugges nunnery. Although it all sounds very good, Kate Moss at W Magazine showed herself as a satan or a witch with sharp claws and vampire teeth… this editorial is very spooky! Just as Kristen McMenamy at opening and closing the Giles AW13 show, wearing a super scary make-up and anglican inspired gowns. As I am not really a religious person, I hope this post won’t make anybody offended. Note: Stefano Pilatti, while worked as a bad designer at (Yves) Saint Laurent, told as on AW10 that his collection HAS NO RELIGIOUS SYMBOLISM. Well, it’s fashion!Slide07

1. Balenciaga by Nicolas Ghesquiere SS12___ 2. Alexander McQueen Pre-Fall 13___ 3. Valentino AW13___ 4. Yves Saint Laurent AW10___ 5. Yves Saint Laurent AW10___ 6. Kate Moss in W Magazine___ 7. Cristobal Balenciaga 1960___ 8. Female Nuns___ 9. Victoria Beckham AW11___ 10. Vogue Paris___ 11. Balenciaga by Alexander Wang AW13 Campaign and Balenciaga by Nicolas Ghesquiere SS13 Look___ 12. KateMoss in W Magazine___ 13. Giles AW13___ 14. Vogue Paris___ 15. Lily McMenamy in Purple Fashion___ 16. Vogue Paris and W Magazine___ 17. Givenchy Menswear SS10___ 18. Les Novices___ 19. Kate Moss in W Magazine___ 20. Givenchy Jesus Crown Menswear  from SS10 and Givenchy Menswear SS13___ 21. Interview Germany Dolce & Gabbananuns2Slide04Slide03kate by steven klein-2012_8Slide01nuns7Slide05100_emmanuelle_alt_vogue_paris_april_2006_noces_blanches_daria_werbowySlide06Kate-Moss-W-Magazine-8Slide08101_emmanuelle_alt_vogue_paris_april_2006_noces_blanches_daria_werbowypurplr-fashn-ss13Slide09Slide10novices-04-gkate_moss5aSlide11IMG_7919