When Virgil Abloh said streetwear was on its way out, he wasn’t kidding. Who would have thought that Demna Gvasalia, founder of streetwear brand Vetements would first leave Vetements, and dedicate himself full-time to his Creative Director position at Balenciaga, and then re-establish Cristobal Balenciaga’s Maison de Couture, which has been closed since 1968. The first show is expected in July 2020.
At about the same time last year, you may have assumed that couture was on its way out… Arguing that the unrealistic prices and overly dramatic looks had no place in our world of fashion. So… what happened in a year?
Sustainability happened.. and it’s nothing dramatic like those suggested coats made out of bottle caps. It’s a much simpler, much more ‘sustainable’ way of thinking. Buy what you need, and make it count. According to Virgil Abloh, ultimately how many sneakers can one own and how many hoodies? True.. you’re thinking but, we’re not exactly going to go out and buy couture instead. Well you may not, but others will!
To be honest there is a bit of a chicken and egg situation going on.. and you can decide what comes first. According to Demna Gvasalia himself, “Haute Couture is the very foundation of this house, so it is my creative and visionary duty to bring couture back.” This sense of responsibility was also echoed by Cedric Charbit, President and CEO of Balenciaga, who stated, “We’re a French house, we belong to Paris. We have to do our job so Paris couture, the craftsmanship, the people, the houses…we have to keep this alive.”
The flip side is of course that this is a strategic move that makes both financial and market-share sense. Fashion is heading down a certain path, and Balenciaga are jumping on the bandwagon early. We can assume of course that Demna will bring a very unique flair to Balenciaga couture. A closer look at Gvasalia’s pret-a-porter collections for the brand since 2015, and it is clear that the designer’s ultra modern collections have a very strong historic undertone derived from the Balenciaga archives. We can assume that the same history and flair will be brought to the proverbial couture table and the management at the brand are thinking big and sparing no expense. A dedicated team will be established for couture, and is going as far as to replicate the original salons at the historic 10, Avenue George V location. In the same statement, CEO and President Cedric Charbit gave credit to Demna Gvasalia’s successful creative vision and the exceptional results of Balenciaga in the past few years, that ultimately allowed this move to be possible. An impressive accolade for the Georgian designer and visionary…