A strong return for Balenciaga in Couture Week since 1967.

Couture Fashion Week is currently underway, marking one of the most exciting times on the fashion calendar. Balenciaga in particular never fails to amaze fashion mavens worldwide. On July 7th 2021, the fashion house announced its return to the Haute Couture calendar, since founder Cristóbal Balenciaga’s departure. This also marks Demna Gvasalia’s first debut tapping into Haute Couture since his appointment as the brand’s Artistic Director.

Demna Gvasalia expresses, “Over half a century later, I see it as my creative duty to the unique heritage of Mr Balenciaga to bring couture back to this house. It is the very foundation of this century-old Maison.”

“Couture is above trends, fashion and industrial dress-making. It is a timeless and mere expression of craft and the architecture of silhouette that gives a wearer the strongest notion of elegance and sophistication,” he adds.

With his revolutionary silhouettes, expect nothing less from Gvasalia. In full Balenciaga codes, the collection is a mix of men’s and women’s made-to-measure pieces with a sculptural yet daring approach. This time, using textures, proportions and a play on fabric as a couture offering. Scroll down to see what we love so much about this monumental return.

The looks

Image credit: Balenciaga

Presented at 10 Avenue Georges V in France (the original salon of Cristóbal Balenciaga), the show kicks off with a sea of all-black silhouettes, focusing on form and techniques. In true Gvasalia fashion, signature touches of slouchy trousers and exaggerated shoulders are aplenty. This includes an effortless shift of looks – from floor-sweeping coats, puffer capes and oversized suits – with added textures and sculptural shapes – a subtle tribute to the iconic balloon jacket and tulip dress. Other standout looks include a polka dot off-shoulder jumpsuit with XL bow on display, bathrobe coats in bold shades, and lastly, a clever interpretation of a sporty windbreaker-meets-ball gown look.

The term luxury these days calls for lounging in comfort, and Balenciaga portrays that. This collection brings stillness to the “new normal”. The Maison exudes a harmonious contrast – of oversized separates, slouchy trousers, denim, relaxed gowns, and the occasional frills – between the foundation of high fashion and basics. Of course, it’s not always about the comfy luxury separates. Ethereal silhouettes from bustier-, structured embroidered- and trompe l’oeil gowns catch our gaze. Not forgetting, the finale to all couture shows, the iconic take on a veiled bridal look.

Taken from the archives

As a nod and love letter to Cristóbal Balenciaga, it’s hard not to miss the enchanting heritage of the fashion house. Take a peek at the images below that directly reference the iconic Maison Couture designs: dress in twisted lace and tulle, opera gloves and parkas, decorative embroidery in shantung silk guipure, and more.

Fun fact: The floral-embroidered gown was inspired by an archival silhouette made for Jacqueline Kennedy.

Front row

Celebrities and stars – Kanye West, James Harden, Lil Baby, Lewis Hamilton, Bella Hadid, Edward Enninful, and more – witness the brilliant debut of the Georgian designer. Also spotted among the fashion set, front row mainstay Anna Wintour. What also caught everyone’s attention, apart from the show, is West’s appearance with a full-face cover, and a peep of the unreleased YZY GAP round jacket. That’s one way to make an entrance.

All images credit: Balenciaga

Amalina Anuar
Senior Writer
A writer by day and spin instructor by night. Amalina fuels her day with anything that’s covered in chocolate and breaking a sweat in the spin studio. With fashion and music as inspiration, you can find her obsessing over her favourite artist's music videos or swaying to funky tunes at live gigs.