Two seasons in and Demna Gvasalia has certainly made his mark at Balenciaga, and on the fashion industry in general for that matter – there can be no doubting that the strong silhouettes delighted over in the Georgian designer’s debut womenswear collection for the French fashion house, and reinforced on the menswear runway in June, have influenced a number of other designers this season.
Shoulders remain key for Spring/Summer 2017, as was asserted from the get-go in Look 1: a belted trench coat reinforced with a whalebone rod across the back, almost as though still on its hanger. Leather jackets, bombers and tailored blazers followed, layered over paintbox brights and either PVC boots or stocking-style Spandex leggings that incorporated pin-thin stiletto heels.
"An exploration of the intimate relationship between couture and fetishism runs beneath the surface of the Balenciaga Spring/Summer 2017 show," read Gvasalia’s show notes. "This collection takes a theoretical leap, harnessing the possibilities of Spandex, a stretch fabric invented in 1958, a time which coincided with Mr Balenciaga’s development of silk organza Gazar to mould to his couture purposes. To service the fantasies of the modern Balenciaga woman, she now appears encased in Spandex from stiletto-top to hip."
With retro florals – inspired by vintage Fifties swimsuits – and great big bags, some reminiscent of Moroccan pouffes, incorporated into the mix, Gvasalia proved he’s able to service many a modern Balenciaga woman’s fashion fantasies.
"Balenciaga was an intellectual take on the trends that we saw interpreted in feminine ways at Valentino et al – here we saw an androgynous, more aggressive stance on trenches, retro floral prints and even pink. Femininity interpreted with strong shoulders and draped dressing," said Helen David, Harrods Chief Merchant, of the show.