December is typically the month that Balenciaga has released this pre-collection in the past. No one reading this needs reminding—last December was anything but typical for this brand. But with the ad campaign imbroglio faded, the lookbook is being released today, ahead of the delivery of these clothes and accessories to stores.
In that light, these dressing room selfies are cleverly staged: an invitation to customers to come back to the shops, and a reminder, much like Demna’s fall runway show in Paris, that the Balenciaga creative director remains one of the key architects of the look of contemporary fashion. Of the 11 trends Vogue Runway identified back in January, when we were cataloging the pre-fall collections, nearly half of them seem traceable to Demna, the emphasis on exaggerated suiting, the embrace of couture-ish shapes, and the return of rave jeans included.
This collection touches on all of those categories, paying special attention to tailoring. Double-breasted black blazers were alternately puffed up with a layer of padding, or cropped at the hips, with the hems tucked under in almost makeshift fashion. A third was worn like a wrap, its buttons askew. He cut similar styles in glen plaids and checks.
More so than the runways, Balenciaga’s pre-season collections are devoted to daily wear. And so there were oversize parkas, peacoats and trenches with more of those folded under hems, fluid velvet sweatsuit separates in surprising pastels, and denim in both raver proportions and a newer skinny cut lopped off at the knees. Standing in for the dramatic evening dresses in the March show were a couple of full-length looks in a quotidian key, one dress in a body-conscious knit and a shrunken logo hoodie and matching ankle-length skirt in what looked like stretch velvet. He’s likely to lean more in Cristobal’s direction at the couture show in July.
Demna attended the Met Gala, hosting a Balenciaga table where he was joined by a quartet of emerging designers and their dates. In some pics, he appears to be holding a Balenciaga sneaker. As for the accessories in this collection, the story was evolution, with new, sportier shapes of Le Cagole, and Pantashoes with sexy fishnet overlays.