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Paris Fashion Week

Balenciaga SS18

If previous seasons had been, in part, an homage to Cristóbal Balenciaga and references to the house, then for Spring/Summer 2018 Demna Gvasalia went for a decisively more Vetements approach, looking to the minutiae of the world around him for inspiration, and playing up to his reputation for turning mundane normcore into cool, covetable luxury.

Less about switching up to a distinct season and more about a progression out from the archives and into amalgams of observations, this was a collection which resonated from first to final exit. Re-appropriation abounded as bootleg style pieces, grunge, punk and early '00s references were rife – elements to be expected from the designer – but this collection had a different feel to it with more freedom and more fun. 

Demo-ing this further, if last season Gvasalia made the case for a side-fastened jacket, this season he took it way beyond with a two-for-one approach – doubling up denim jackets as a base with deconstructed anoraks, full trench coats and leather jackets tacked on at the neck. Sweatshirts were wrapped and tied like shawls, colour-saturated stock photography prints of mountains and sunsets coated trousers, newsprint and euro bill print shirts spoke to the flashier side of things, while a kitsch '70s-style floral print ran through the latter part of the collection. 

Layering up the accessories, this season’s bum bags were slung nonchalantly cross-body, top-handle shoppers were supersize and caped, while others resembled car tail lights – an upgrade from those rubber car mats seen last season – while charm-adorned belts and mega-panelled earrings made for carefully curated bling. Drawing the eyes feet first in some instances, those iconic spandex legging boots were back in silken prints while super-spiked, lethal-looking Mary Janes were a comment on fashion’s tendency to sanitise punk and, sneaking in at the final exits, were mega-platformed bejewelled Crocs – confoundingly charming in their own way. 

There were dues to pay of course, certainly to Vivienne Westwood, CHANEL, John Galliano, Versace, Comme des Garcons and naturally, Vetements, in much of the proceedings, but this has never been a sticking point for the designer, rather a reverence. Loud, proud and pumped, Gvasalia knows how to set things well and truly off-kilter, which in fashion right now is a welcome talent. 

Shop: Balenciaga