Just five days after the Spring Summer 2016 show (and Alexander Wang’s last collection for the brand) was held, news broke today that Demna Gvasalia, the head of Paris design collective Vetements, has been appointed Balenciaga’s new artistic director. Here, what you should know about the Georgian designer and what he will bring to the storied fashion house:
#1: He’s made Vetements a hot streetwear label favoured by the fashion crowd and celebrities alike.
There are seven anonymous designers behind the label, and it was recently nominated for LVMH’s Young Fashion Designer Prize. At their Fall Winter ’15 showcase, fashion editors and celebrities like Jared Leto and Kanye West were spotted, while its recent Spring Summer ’16 collection was held in a kitschy Chinese restaurant in Paris’ Chinatown district. What makes their pieces a hit: The androgynous tailoring; the effortlessly grunge-y vibe; and yes, the fact that Kanye and Kim wear them.
#2: He’s worked in two of the most respected fashion houses today.
He spent eight years at Margiela, joining in 2009 after the brand’s founder retired, and according to a Business of Fashion report was regarded as “Margiela’s spiritual son.” After a brief stint at Louis Vuitton, he launched Vetements last year and it has since been featured in the pages of top fashion reads like i-D and Love magazines.
#3: He was trained in the same school as the Antwerp Six.
The Belgium collective Antwerp Six – including designers Dries van Noten and Ann Demeulemeester – graduated from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts and made ripples with their visionary take on ready-to-wear. Little wonder, then, that fellow graduate Gvasalia was led to co-found a design collective focusing primarily on the beauty of garment construction (and not, say, on branding or profiling the designers themselves).
#4: His first collection for Balenciaga will be for Fall Winter ’16.
Vetements’ pieces reflect his edgy, streetwear appeal, but whether that will have an impact on the French maison’s offerings remains to be seen. What is pretty certain is that he will be sprucing up the brand’s menswear and footwear product lines, based on a WWD report.
Main image: @balenciaga Instagram