Balenciaga has released images for the luxury label’s pre-autumn 2016 collection, which was said to be designed by an internal team after Alexander Wang’s departure and before new designer Demna Gvasalia‘s first presentation. And yet, it’s hard to believe Gvasalia didn’t have some influence, given a number of looks that speak to what have emerged as his design signatures, including loosely draped yet lovingly tailored garments and roomy over-the-knee boots, all of which are practiced in the art of disconnect and distance.
The flashy item du jour is a stole or perhaps better described as an over sized sash, detailed with Balenciaga in big block letters, not a new silhouette in the fashion world by any means, but Gvasalia (or whomever designed it) certainly adds his own utilitarian stamp and thus manages to add a fresh take.
Looking at the collection you can see how longtime fans of Balenciaga, who were crushed by the dismissal of Nicolas Ghesquière and disappointed by the appointment of Alexander Wang, might be more enamored with the arrival Gvasalia. Akin to Carrie Bradshaw in Paris, Wang was a bit too affable American in his ways for typical fans of Balenciaga (entirely not his fault but not really fixable). Conversely, Gvasalia comes across as more in sync with the original Cristóbal Balenciaga mindset, more defiant and avant-garde, comfortable with making use of higher intellect rather than signature details and material stories to project exclusivity.
Despite recent controversy, the label presumably under Gvasalia’s direction cast all white models for the lookbook, perhaps indicating a stubborn streak or an unwillingness to conform, not the worst traits in a designer, though it could also just mean he is closed minded in some ways, most people are, after all. We just expect more from the people who are at the top of creative food chains.