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How Demna Gvasalia changed Balenciaga, again

From streetwear to Haute Couture to the Met Gala red carpet

How Demna Gvasalia changed Balenciaga, again From streetwear to Haute Couture to the Met Gala red carpet

It was July when Balenciaga, in a move similar to that made by Bottega Veneta, had decided to delete all its posts from social profiles in what would become the beginning of a new phase for the French brand. Soon Demna Gvasalia would bring Balenciaga back to Haute Couture after 53 years, kicking off a slow but inexorable change that saw its partial fulfillment in the Met Gala. Everything has already been said about that show, focusing above all on the way in which the Georgian designer looked to the past of the brand to relaunch it in the future, to cut ties with a recent past that has become too cumbersome and made up of a hypeculture. which seemed to have erased the true legacy of Cristóbal Balenciaga.

Between a Bernie Sanders logo and a Triple S it is undeniable the work done in recent years by Gvasalia in bringing the brand to a younger and streetwear dimension, bringing it closer to an audience that probably had nothing to do with the one near Balenciaga over the years. by Nicolas Ghesquière and his successor Alexander Wang. In 2018 it was the CEO Cedric Charbit who witnessed this change of course, speaking of a brand in sharp growth, the best among those of the Kering group in 2017, with an audience made up of 60% of Millenials and in large part of men who approached the brand on the wave of streetwear and sneaker culture, which at that time knew one of its greatest peaks with the release of some models that have gone down in history such as the Yeezy 700 Wave Runner and the Air Max 1/97 Sean Wotherspoon. To shake off the luxury streetwear label, Gvasalia has therefore decided to return to the origins of the brand without losing the pop dimension that has always distinguished his work both at Balenciaga and at Vetements with his brother Guram.

If the brand's campaigns can now boast the permanent presence of Justin Bieber, the close partnership with Kanye West in the rollout of Donda has turned into a springboard used by Gvasalia to give a new boost to Balenciaga by transforming Kim Kardashian into his new muse. After the fake wedding celebrated in the last listening party in Chicago, on the red carpet of the Met Gala Kim returned once again to dress Balenciaga becoming one of the absolute protagonists of the event and giving the theme In America: A Lexicon of Fashion a unique reading . "What's more American than a head-to-toe t-shirt?" commented Kim, but above all, what's more American than making a celebrity completely covered up recognizable? Especially when the celebrity in question represents in many ways the face of more pop America. Kardashian aside, the Met undoubtedly marked the return in style of Gvasalia who, also covered from head to toe in what looked like a Kanye West cosplay, also dressed Rihanna and Tracee Ellis Ross in Balenciaga Couture, as well as Isabelle Huppert, Elliot Page and Michaela Coel. A list of celebrities that certainly marks a change in trend compared to the last edition staged, that of 2019, in which the French brand was classified under names such as Tommy Hilfiger, Christian Siriano and Prabal Gurung, ending up covering the role of except excellent. If two years later Balenciaga regained its place on the red carpet of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the merit goes to Gvasalia and the process he was able to implement by denying part of himself and the work done in the past on the brand, putting aside a fashion idea of ​​shapes to embrace a concept in which abstractionism seems to have taken the place of logos and the more pop side, left only as a sales tool, but above all by opening the doors to a different future and putting Cristóbal Balenciaga back at the center of his thoughts.