Demna Serves Classics. Balenciaga Resort 2019

Balenciaga’s resort 2019 look-book got released this morning, and it couldn’t be more Balenciaga – as we know it from Demna Gvasalia. True, there are less hoodies and much less sneakers (now, replaced by more classic looking black men’s boots). But the hybrid trench coats for him and her, voluminous pussy bow blouses, pleated dresses (in cheesy-chic flag print this season), dad jeans, oversized duvet jackets and XXL bazaar bags are all here. Those are the already-cult pieces that seem to be here with Balenciaga for years, not for a few seasons. Other than new colour combinations and a number of tailoring additions, the pre-collection brings nothing new to the table – except the fact that Gvasalia’s designs have completely synthesised with the maison he designs for. Still, there’s one element that will surely catch your attention if you seek the newness. “The symbol on the bags is the one for transgender.” The arrival of the pink and the blue leather shopping bags printed with the black circle, arrow, and cross couldn’t be better timed. First, they look great, second – they defy Trump’s intention to erase the transgender agenda. “I often try to include some messages that are important to be spread,” Gvasalia says. “It’s almost like advertising an idea, this very strong symbol.” Love it or hate it, he can’t go wrong.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

CFDA 2018 Winners

Pyer Moss SS19

I’m always thrilled to see how talents are finally spotted and then rightly backed up. Congratulations to the 2018 CFDA / Vogue Fashion Fund winner, Pyer Moss. Designer Kerby Jean-Raymond accepted the CVFF award (from actress Emily Blunt) yesterday, following a dinner and fashion show held in the Brooklyn Navy Yard in New York. Pyer Moss has been lauded for its beautiful and intelligent celebration of black culture in America. The designer makes activism a crucial component of his brand, being as well vocal about current problems that America faces today – from the current president to widespread social injustice. Interesting to see how the award helps Pyer Moss expand with its powerful vision. But there isn’t just one winner at CFDA. Taking home one of the two runner-up prizes for this year is Emily Bode of the menswear brand Bode. Last year, Bode became one of the few women to showcase at the sleepy New York Fashion Week: Men’s – because, one could say, she knows what the boys want (think a rugby jacket in the brightest shade of orange; loosely fit vintage-y suits; The Darjeeling Limited inspired, hand-dyed t-shirts). Now in its second year, the label has been praised for its sustainable practices and focus on craft. To be honest, Bode is a brand I wish I had in my wardrobe – just look at the label’s new season offering. The second runner-up prize went to Jonathan Cohen. The designer launched his namesake brand in 2011, and has been steadily gaining recognition for easy-breezy pieces, which makes getting dressed as simple as dipping into one of his feminine dresses with intriguing finishings. From this year’s finalists, I also had major hopes for Batsheva (you might have seen one of those already cult prairie dresses here or there) and Matthew Adams Dolan (the Rihanna and SZA dresser who makes all-American uniforms look fashion). As Anna Wintour summed up this year’s winners, “their work highlights a high degree of creativity and a deep-rooted commitment to the notion of community. They’re not only a credit to the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund as it celebrates its 15th anniversary, but also to the optimism and inclusivity of the very best American fashion.” Once again, big congrats!

Pyer Moss SS19

Bode SS19 and AW18

Jonathan Cohen SS19

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

With Respect. Alaïa SS19

The sudden death of Azzedine Alaïa, the master couturier who understood a woman’s body like no one else, hasn’t only deprived the fashion world of an ultimate genius, but as well left his brand in an uncertain position. The spring-summer 2019 look-book that was released last week, however, assures that Alaïa – as a fashion house – isn’t going the wrong path and won’t end its existence as many French houses did after their founders passed away (waiting for years to be bought by a bored millionaire). The Maison Alaïa studio team proves to be loyal to the brand’s codes, and what’s more, isn’t lead by an outside creative director. All the people who work on today’s Alaïa collections were trained by Azzedine himself. Many pieces from the new collection aren’t that new. The offering comprises separate collections, éditions, that consist of archive pieces that have been perfectly replicated as new ready-to-wear and labeled according to original dates. A denim jacket from 1986. The striped dress is from 1990. Another gown saw its runway debut back in 1984. Cotton shirtdresses and woven raffia details were mastered in Azzedine’s last collections to perfection, and they reappear here too, just like python leather garments. The soul of Alaïa is there, in each cut and stitch. The effect is more than beautiful, and you really wish of seeing these clothes in real life. It’s a tribute collection, but not in a Versace spring-summer 2018 way. The studio is expected to rework Alaïa’s original designs in future collections, supplying the stores with the brand’s all-time classics.

Still, there are few new additions that smell with forced commerce: espadrilles made in  collaboration with Castañer (ok, that must be heaven comfort) and a capsule collection of dresses, t-shirts and accessories emblazoned with the words Mon cœur est à papa, the expression of love attributed to Naomi Campbell, who considered the Alaïa her father figure. This isn’t presented in the new season look-book (shot by Karim Sadli and styled by long-time friend of the house, Joe McKenna), but, well, it’s a necessity that just has to be accepted. By the way, for the nay-sayers, Alaïa himself did a capsule collection of logo t-shirts in collaboration with Comme des Garçons back in the 90s (very treasured vintage). No one will return Azzedine. But it’s a great relief that his heritage is in good hands and his fashion continues to be praised with so much grace and respect.

 

Collages by Edward Kanarecki.