Balenciaga is one of the many brands that's had turnover at the top of its creative hierarchy recently, but unlike Dior and Raf Simons or Lanvin and Alber Elbaz, the brand was quick to name Alexander Wang's successor: Demna Gvasalia, a Louis Vuitton designer during both the Marc Jacobs and Nicolas Ghesquiere eras and one of the founders of obsessed-over Parisian indie brand Vetements. His first collection made its debut over the weekend, and it made quite an impression.
Gvasalia's work is known primarily for its play on proportion, as well as the deconstruction and contemplation of everyday, casual clothing, and he brought a healthy dose of that to the brand, along with the inclusion of some traditional Balenciaga glamor. It's the kind of work some more casual fans might not know what to make of, but it's a step into a more interesting conversation for the brand's aesthetic.
The collection's bags included several different shapes, but perhaps most notably, they were all big. Gvasalia is clearly unimpressed with the micro bags beloved by designers lately, and his response was enormous, at least by physical measurements. Multicolored striped totes, in particular, looked like beach bags or the thin nylon totes New Yorkers use to tote oversized loads around the city. (Except, of course, they were rendered in fine, soft leathers and snakeskins.)
There were also two different types of shoulder satchel, each with exterior trappings that reminded me a bit of luggage. They were heavily structured and rendered in sedate neutrals, and I could see them translating easily into the consumer-friendly bags that keep brands like Balenciaga afloat. Check out all the runway bags below. (And some super cool bracelets, too.)
[Photos via Vogue Runway]
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