After just three short years at Balenciaga, Alexander Wang’s tenure has come to a close. While many would prefer to see the New York-based designer focus on his namesake, rumors have been circulating for weeks about who would follow in Wang’s footsteps at the helm of the Paris-based fashion house.
Well those rumors can finally be put to rest, as it was just announced that Demna Gvasalia of Vetements will take the lead as Balenciaga’s new artistic director. This news comes as kind of a surprise to some given Gvasalia’s status as a relative newcomer; he’s only shown a handful of collections at this point, after all. But it might not be too shocking, as Vetements is potentially the hottest thing happening in Paris right now.
So who is Demna Gvasalia?
A graduate of Antwerp’s prestigious Royal Academy of Fine Arts, the the German designer by way of Georgia first showed at Tokyo Fashion Week in 2007. Since then, Gvasalia worked on the womenswear collections at Maison Margiela until 2013 before heading the women’s ready-to-wear design team at Louis Vuitton. He launched Vetements shortly after, which showed in Paris for the first time just last year.
A collective of anonymous designers that’s fronted by Gvasalia, Vetements draws inspiration from the clothes we’re already wearing. Masterfully recycling old materials, Gvasalia’s team reworks staples like biker jackets, jeans, and sweats, churning out noteworthy pieces that have risen to the top of the street style scene. The brand’s attitude is a necessary accessory, too, adding a touch of punk to the polished fashion realm. And aside from street cred, Vetements’ ample shapes and rugged textures have earned the favor of editors and stylists across the globe, along with celebrities like Kanye West and everyone’s favorite badgal, Rihanna. So, yeah, Demna Gvasalia’s Vetements are pretty cool. But how will this somewhat tough, street-savvy aesthetic translate to the fashion monarchy that is Balenciaga?
According to François-Henri Pinault, president and CEO of Kering, Balenciaga’s parent company, there’s a lot of optimism regarding this new appointment. He says:
“Demna Gvasalia embodies a unique approach to the profession, marked by a sociological observation of the wardrobe’s essentials and the way he remains humble and rigorous in his creative work. I am convinced that he will lead Balenciaga to a successful future.”
If Pinault’s approval is any indication, along with the cult following that Gvasalia’s already established via Vetements, the designer’s work for the renowned maison is sure to be greeted with lots of hopeful attention. Until then, we’ll have to wait until the fall 2016 shows during Paris Fashion Week in March to see what Demna Gvasalia does for his first ready-to-wear collection at Balenciaga.
Check out some of Demna Gvasalia’s work below, and let us know how you feel about this new appointment!