Paris Women’s Fashion Week S/S 2020 Part 2

It’s becoming a bit of a tradition. The more we get to the end of PFW, the more tired we are after New York, London, Milan and the colder the weather gets, one mega show follows the next on the closing days here.

Balenciaga S/S 2020

Restraint seems to do wonders for Demna Gvasalia at Balenciaga. Done with men’s shows and pre-collections, free of Vetements duties, he is throwing all his creativity into his Kering job. In the end, he even styled and photographed the Vetements shows and campaigns and while he lived off-grid in Switzerland, one had to wonder just how he did it all. But with only two shows left on his to do list now, he continues to excel at Balenciaga. Sunday mornings are now a ritual of going to fashion mass. Gvasalia transformed his St. Denis soundstage venue into a utopian blue chamber of a fake political organization to deliver his new collection focused on power dressing.

The location of Balenciaga’s show was turned into an all blue political chamber.

What made the show?

Every aspect that goes into a memorable fashion presentation was well considered here. The blue curtain staging with a cascading catwalk, the immaculate casting with real people representing gallerists, artists, doctors, lawyers, engineers as well as professional models, the bombastic soundtrack, the room scents and of course the clothes, which morphed from, black tailored office uniforms to red carpet or important function attire. Or simply put: nobody has a better hand at bringing an archive into the now. All of the famous Balenciaga ballroom dresses were rendered modern.

Gvasalia’s new interpretation of Balenciaga’s ballroom dresses.

The tailoring?

Balenciaga sticks to its square power shoulder and slouchy pant silhouette for daywear. New were the pleated patterns, which swirled around the bodies. But nobody cuts a better jacket in fashion than Gvasalia at the moment where everything just hangs right on the body.

Square power shoulders and tailored suits made of pleated fabrics.

The fear factor?

Prosthetically augmented cheekbones and lips paid homage to the surreal world of Rick Owens who sat front row. Gvasalia knows how to pay tribute.

Paying tribute to Rick Owens by adding surreal make-up to some of the models.

A word on the casting?

Outside his after party venue on rue Ponthieu, Gvasalia confessed that he had long been obsessed with our very own Nadja Auermann. “As a kid I used to look at her fashion images and I was simply in love. And nobody has really seen her lately,” explained Gvasalia one of his casting coups. Considering his German spent childhood, he has an affinity for Starke, Deutsche Frauen and also included Karen Boros from Berlin to open the show.

Nadja Auermann and Karen Boros walked the show.

His secret weapon?

Nobody is better at subverting pop culture logos and references for a fashion purpose. This time, he reinvented his logo by melting it with two discs to resemble a Mastercard logo or he even used the Top Model casting show logo on T-shirts. Gvasalia with his Eastern European heritage and natural thirst for pop culture is very good at observing what’s happening on the streets and then re-interpreting it for his house which has such a big name.

Referring to pop culture by recreating broadly known logos is Gvasalia’s secret weapon.

Looking like everyone else?

Where in Western society a uniform has a negative stigma, in the Eastern European world it still stands for being privileged or being part of something. Balenciaga cleverly uses this tension in its collections by repeating over and over its black tailoring in boxy jackets and pants.

Creating an effect of uniforms by adding lots of all black boxy suits throughout the collection.