Balenciaga F/W 2017
Corporate Man as a Maverick and not a Drone
Balenciaga’s latest menswear show by Demna Gvasalia in Paris had everything one needed for a great fashion moment: Artfully stated show space; dashing and quirky casting including Erwin whom we shot in our latest issue of Achtung Mode with Eva Baales; sizzling hot designer and even the presence of a fashion legend to honor a new star. In this case, Rei Kawakubo, who sat – second row – in a black leather biker jacket, perched beside partner Adrian Joffe of Dover Street Market fame. Sibylline as ever, her face impassive as stone; unlike this collection.
And above all it had an ambitious conceptual underpinning. “A new set of proposals on the subject of corporate dressing,” explained the program note, which like the tiny business card invite; rectangular set and seating and catwalk was made in austere black and gray.
The result: sculptural interpretations that were miles away from traditional ideas of a corporate suit. Not so much power dressing – in a display of ironic fashion.
For starters, Demna’s executives will wear sneakers to work: retro, multi-color versions with clunky heels, with their sizes stamped – not inside – but prominently on their toes.
For a chilly day walking through a below zero Place Vendome – just like this Wednesday – perfectly cut top coats, extending way below the knee and worn over sporting motorbike boots for scramblers.
To attend board meetings, classical chalk stripe suits with humongous large shoulders. For an evening cocktail to cut savvy deals, Gvasalia’s had his best ideas: brilliantly cut bomber jackets – one in blue nylon, another in putty gray shearling – enlarged with Raglan shoulders and bulbous at the waist that both looked superb.
All sent out with lots of fashion insider in-jokes: from leather toes made like typical boutique shopping bags to a great sweatshirt, bearing the logo of Balenciaga’s parent company Kering. That corporation’s big boss François Henri Pinault clearly loved that fashion witticism. Add in dramatically padded leather nylon scarves and Demna’s signature giant faux Tati bags in striped leather and though had a great fashion display. Not perhaps a fashion moment. Gvasalia clearly wants to save Corporate Men from organizational drudgery, but this collection did not quiet have the paradigm bursting power of his men’s’ debut at Balenciaga last season.