Balenciaga Couture: Jean-Luc Godard directs Squid Game
Balenciaga Couture staged its second show by couturier Demna Gvasalia on Wednesday, and opened its first couture boutique immediately after, amid scenes of intense fandom outside the brand’s headquarters on Avenue George V.
Often other-worldly and futurist before finishing with more classical grandeur, and starring Kim Kardashian, Dua Lipa and Nicole Kidman, gliding around the salon show in an asymmetrical taffeta dress coated in silver.
It felt rather like a party in Squid Game as the show opened with a score of masked figures, and the first seven dressed in neoprene – from scuba bodysuits and slim scuba dresses to flared Japanese neoprene scuba gowns and grandiose cuissarde thigh boots. Neoprene even cut into Organization Man suits, worn by a dude in a face shield.
But it finished by going back into the past and Cristobal Balenciaga’s beginnings dressing the infanta princesses of the Spanish Royal Family.
In between, the collection changed gears frequently, from hipster glamor with a silver crystal-net dress worn over gloved body suit to black beaded viscose mini cocktails or blue faille feathered maxi dresses. Which on closer inspection were actually knitted.
A whole graduation of how Demna sees couture that included big volume streetwear – oversized denim jackets in faded East German-blue or inky midnight blue and a screen-goddess denim gown with enormous trail worn with a jacket with a cathedral-high collar. Many jackets, parkas and leather street looks made of deadstock fabrics.
“Welcome back, as it’s not your first time here. Last time was about heritage and the legacy of Cristobal Balenciaga. This time I wanted to put more of my own heart in there, to follow my own instincts. A new fusion,” explained Demna, amid at least 30 mobile phones thrust in his direction by editors and critics.
Even his soundtrack included different epochs.
Backed up in the beginning by a poem written specially for the show by Sophie Fontanel, fashion commentator, writer and poet. Capturing the sense of Demna escaping from the bomb shelters during his family’s flight from Georgia before living the life of an impoverished expat in Germany. When Demna dreamed of coming to France to fulfill his vocation – to become a couturier.
“I wanted a love poem to this métier, and a couture level of soundtrack. It’s kind of my Godard moment,” he explained of the poem, based on Demna’s own thoughts expressed over lunch with Fontanel. Before the soundtrack morphed into an industrial yet futurist symphony, Lifestream by Juanita.
Guests entered past levels of security, intense given star wattage in the front row - Kris Jenner, Bella Hadid and veteran model Amber Valletta.
Also in the mix – faux loudspeaker bags and glossy rubber space pumps, ideal product for the brand’s latest store. Post-show, guests headed to the new couture concept store, located at 10 Avenue George V, the building where Cristobal first opened more than eight decades ago.
“A lot of people asked me after our first couture show, ‘how do you buy couture?’ Many people in this younger generation and up and coming clients really don't know. So we needed to have a space where they could either leave with something from the boutique or make an appointment in the salon to have a made-to-measure experience,” the Georgian-born designer explained.
“It’s about the technique, experience and materials of special unique products that people can acquire. Clothes, objects and accessories, but in more elaborate, like my iconic hour glass jacket,” he concluded, as outside the new generation screamed and shouted and begged for autographs.
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