The Statements Pieces. Balenciaga Resort 2020

Balenciaga released its resort 2020 look-book just in time when the clothes start to hit the stores. Demna Gvasalia‘s pre-collections for the maison aren’t as spectacular as the main shows (the spring-summer 2020 collection we’ve seen last month was one of his best to date!), but they sum up the label’s statement pieces: Balenciaga wardrobe “basics” (like tailoring with Cristobal Balenciaga’s couture volumes), the best-selling apparel and key bags. What else? Outsize parkas with their cheekbone-grazing collars, easy-wearing printed tea dresses in souvenir prints, XXL pajama sets… all this in the least matching colours you can imagine. But somehow, everything works together more than well. The look-book-opening coat is stamped with the Balenciaga logo in the familiar block print, but even without it one can identify the sloping shoulders, buttoned collar, and boxy, exaggerated fit as signature Gvasalia. And what’s my personal favourite from the line-up? The leather blouson-jacket in bold green, as pictured above.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Fashion Uniforms. Balenciaga SS20

Balenciaga‘s spring-summer 2020 collection was really something. It’s quite clear that since Demna Gvasalia departed from Vetements, his focus is solely directed on the Parisian maison. For me, his latest line-up was as incredible as his debut collection – it proved again that his take on ready-to-wear is truly visionary. The collection was raw, properly odd, ironic and real (all the models come from different walks of life: there were nurses, actresses, super-models, lawyers, gallerists, engineers, etc.). But so, so desirable! Lets start from the beginning. He set the collection in a political arena – a faux “Balenciaga parliament or assembly,” which he’d convened to investigate the subject of “power dressing and fashion uniforms.” First looks: senior delegates in corporate tailoring. On their breast pockets were embroidered badges, two discs bisected with a Balenciaga logo (very Mastercard). Then came what Gvasalia called ‘the campaign dresses’. “We looked at pictures of women politicians, of what they wear campaigning. We took this type of tailored daywear dress and tried to make it cool – not an easy challenge, to be honest,” he said. His solution was to “make them more boxy and cocoon-y, which is quite Balenciaga. So many body types can wear it. Democratic and easy-to-wear volumes.” Later, he sent down a line-up of over-sized, turtleneck frocks in logos, perfume bottles and sneakers prints, and long-sleeved t-shirts with cliche slogans you see in cheesy gift shops (like ’18+’ or ‘Top Model\). In his latest interview with Jo Ellison for How To Spend It, he told the critic that not doing simple, commercial stuff is simply not honest at a brand like Balenciaga. And he’s right. Next: turtle duvet jackets (their construction is amazing – it’s modern day Cristóbal Balenciaga sort of thinking); hybrid, velvet garments that in front look like dresses, but in the back appear to have pants; coats, in faux fur or bold colours, with exaggerated shoulders; XXL, black, widow dresses (worn by Nadja Auermann and Renata Litvinova). If it couldn’t get any more eclectic, here’s the best part. The eveningwear, which instantly became the most memorable / meme moment of Paris Fashion Week. Specifically, crinoline dresses (two in lurex and with a huge, doll-like bow in the back, and three identical velvet masterpieces in different colours). “Ballroom dresses go back to the beginning of Balenciaga, when Cristóbal started in Spain. It was mostly this type of silhouette he did, from Spanish painting,” Gvasalia observed. “But we wanted to make sure they were wearable. If you take out the crinoline, you have a sort of goth dress.” True, there’s something that makes you feel uncomfortable while looking at the collection: maybe it’s the extreme blue of the venue? The prosthetics used as part of models’ make-up? The chilling soundtrack created by Demna’s boyfriend, Loik Gomez? Still, I can’t help but love it. Good fashion makes you want something for a moment. Great fashion makes you feel something and think about it for a couple of days.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

McDonald’s. Vetements SS20

Slajd2-kopia

As  I’m still digesting Vetements‘ spring-summer 2020 collection, which was presented at the largest McDonald’s location in Paris… so here is a sequence of thoughts and impressions I had.

Eew. From the opening policeman look to the idea of McDonald’s… just eew.

But then, where else would Vetements show its collection? Perfectly provocating, but as simple as that.

It’s straightforwardly genius.

However, the looks… it seems to me that Demna Gvasalia and his team do the same thing for the last few seasons, on repeat. Vetements signatures they have already shown us.

Right now I’m catching myself on this endless desire of newness in fashion, something that Vetements is totally against. They are against the current, against the system, against the fashion industry. Against junk fashion. How ironic…

Also, how brilliant is the idea of dresses made out of unused Vetements textiles from previous seasons? They won’t end up in the landfill!

So I start to kind of like it. After a month of countless shows (which aren’t even ready-to-wear lines!), Demna shows the fashion establishment a middle finger.

And then, the last thought. So if Vetements hates fashion… how long can they stay in this circuit? And at the same time supply stores, earn money, etc.?

Or is this just for the sole purpose of real, fashion fun? Honestly, this will be one of the only shows that will stay in your mind for the next months.

So, as you can see, many questions. Maybe you’ve got some thoughts? Would love to hear them!

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Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

 

Real Life. Balenciaga Pre-Fall 2019

Lately, all designers want to do clothes for ‘real life’. But it’s Demna Gvasalia who actually started that trend-not-trend, first with Vetements, then with time at Balenciaga. The pre-fall 2019 look-book, that sees models walk with their phones in front of their faces or making calls, is all about Gvasalia’s Balenciaga best-selling classics: sharp tailoring, denim, over-sized volumes and exaggerated logos. It doesn’t excite much, as it feels like a transition from the summer show from last October to the winter collection we’ve seen in March. But it’s a pre-collection after all. And it’s hitting stores at this very moment.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.