Balenciaga defined many of our era’s fashion zeitgeists, with the shockingly ugly (Triple-S sneakers), the shockingly oversized (multi-layered anoraks), and the shockingly ironic (anti-fashion graphics and platform Crocs). But for Autumn/Winter 2019, Demna Gvasalia turned the tables to give us the shockingly normal.
This season’s Balenciaga show at Paris Fashion Week did away with the theatrical sets to deliver 109 men’s and women’s looks down a freshly-paved asphalt floor to strobe lights and repetitive techno music. The focus was on serious tailoring, as seen through assertively wearable staples, from trouser suits to straight leg jeans. Some of the past seasons’ motifs did return to break up the staunch minimalism, such as the scribble print on a pink dress, the normcore graphic tees, and the shopping bags done up in leather. Footwear was devoid of any bold sneaker, with the brand opting for reasonable square-toe boots and polite high-heels.
Gvasalia called this collection “my ode to the customer, to people who actually go shopping for fashion.” Nevertheless, the brand’s familiar element of drama did reappear as the silhouettes grew in size, boasting broad, hunched-over shoulders and floor-grazing lengths. Gvasalia’s famous touch of irony was seen with ultra-high stand-up collars and the extra-long hoodies, but this season’s theme was grounded in reality.