There are a total of three sports jackets and four vintage printed tea dresses in Balenciaga’s Fall Winter 2017 collection of 47 looks. In comparison, there is a stream of elegant car coats (nine in total); three body-skimming turtleneck and pencil skirt combinations; four flippy, button-cute mini sundresses; and nine jaw dropping-ly beautiful couture gowns. If we were to line every look up along a spectrum that spanned from classic Demna Gvasalia ugly-chic to modern sophistication, all the other looks would sit closer to the latter end.
Has Gvasalia – the man who made even the prettiest of street style stars covet after monstrous windbreakers and bedraggled shirts – cleaned up? Not quite.
On the runway, those woollen car coats were slung across the body and buttoned at the shoulders to create an accidental asymmetrical effect. Gvasalia was inspired by never-before-released archival look book images that documented the way models in Cristobal Balenciaga’s time interacted naturally with clothing. “An observation of spontaneous social habits”, states the press release.
Those svelte pencil skirts are in fact car mats, wrapped around the hips then paired with timelessly chic knit turtlenecks. Those sundresses resemble what what would happen when you put silk frocks into the washing machine – shrunken to almost child-like proportions. They’re also made of the gaudy retro-printed fabrics Gvasalia so loves.
And of course he accented them all with his signature, idiosyncratic brand of accessories: totes made from spare tires; minaudieres of which shells were formerly wing mirrors; his Spandex Pant-a-shoes in contrasting Technicolour hues.
There’s no doubt: Gvasalia remains an incendiary to the traditions of high fashion, but it’s hard to ignore how his collection for Balenciaga Fall Winter 2017 would also count as beautifully refined in a traditional sense. And therein lies its strongest appeal.
It brings me to those couture gowns that closed the show. Available only via made-to-order, they’re meant to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the house and the closest Gvasalia has come to reviving its most iconic evening looks. “At first we tried to do things with them, but i thought it was too much. So I wanted to keep it pure,” he told Vogue.com.
So all he did was exaggerate their already pronounced silhouettes slightly, give them pockets, then pair them on the catwalk with Pant-a-shoes and the brand’s now signature Bazar bags in matching prints. The result is peerlessly modern and graceful.
Here, all the reasons to love the collection with unfiltered snaps from my phone.