The workings of Creative Director Demna Gvasalia’s sense of humor presented a Balenciaga Resort 2018 collection that featured scrunchie, plastic grapes as earrings, and many other standout details.
Balenciaga’s absurdist accessories spark up the otherwise straight-faced continuity of the clothes, in which Gvasalia and his team have gone back to build on some of the foundations. The designer normalized his own innovations and make them available to be bought over time allowing the reiterations of the pantaboots—fused leggings and stilettos—a runaway seller since they first appeared in the Fetish collection of Spring 2017, the car mat–inspired pencil skirt of Fall 2017, the Helly Hansen–inspired padded coats of Fall 2016, and the flower-print blouses and dresses.
Meanwhile the Balenciaga stole was a preview of one of the things Gvasalia has pursued intently: his interest in logos and how they can be manipulated, retrieved from a brand-licensing past that was once regarded as beyond the pale of sophisticated taste, and then doused in the gasoline of ridiculous desirability again.
There are Balenciaga logos all over the place now. One of them is a diagonal print lifted from vintage linings that is now stamped on quilted, chain-handled lady bags, which in themselves might be copies of the faked-up branded merchandise that was churned out in the name of the house in the ’70s and ’80s. That same reappropriated print now appears on Balenciaga carpets in shows and in stores—part of the corporate sub-theme Gvasalia is also manipulating.
Gvasalia is a top expert at re-chic-ing the mundane. His silhouettes, even the slope-shouldered stance and the “real” look of the models, have become a staple throughout fashion.