Now this is something to find the front rows at the Paris haute couture shows speaking: Balenciaga, that hasn’t produced a couture collection since Cristóbal Balenciaga himself shuttered his atelier in 1968, is coming into couture. Artistic Director Demna Gvasalia’s couture debut will occur in July for the autumn 2020 season.
“Haute couture is the foundation of this house,” Gvasalia stated in a statement,”therefore it is my creative and entrepreneurial responsibility to bring couture back. For me, couture is an unexplored mode of creative freedom and also a stage for innovation. It not only offers another spectrum of possibilities in dressmaking,” he continued,”it also brings the modern vision of Balenciaga back to its own sources of origin.”
Cristóbal Balenciaga occupies a particular place in the history of haute couture. Christian Dior referred to him as”the master of us all,” and the Spanish designer was a master of silhouette, building, and drape. The royal elegance of his clothes defined his era, and it’s no coincidence that he closed his doors ’68, just as the changing mores and styles of the time were ushering in the new prêt-à-porter system. Since his arrival in 2015 the Georgian designer has produced a research of the home founder’s couture silhouettes. His spectacular first collection comprised suit coats that slouched forward and puffers that shrugged back, both motivated by pieces he discovered in the archive. Fall 2017 concluded with a collection of dresses lifted with very little in the way of alterations from Balenciaga’s iconic couture creations of the 1950s, also fall 2018 utilized a high-tech computer-enabled process for moulding suits into recognizably Cristóbal-ish contours. The home is currently establishing a dedicated team dedicated simply to couture and it is replicating the initial salons at Balenciaga’s historic address at 10 Avenue George V.”This project has been possible because of the achievement of the imaginative vision of Demna Gvasalia in addition to the exceptional results of Balenciaga these past few decades,” said Cedric Charbit, President and CEO of Balenciaga, in precisely the same release. In conversation, Charbit added,”We are a French home, we belong to Paris. We must perform our job accordingly Paris couture, the craftsmanship, the people, the homes… we have to keep this alive.”
There is honour in renewing French tradition, of course, but Charbit sees the company potential of returning to couture, also. “So we understand there is a customer. She’s there.” What is more, couture’s made-to-measure methods jibe with all the culture’s growing concerns about waste and excess in the fashion market. “What I believe is right about couture today is that the method is renewable,” said Charbit. “We don’t make things that won’t be stored forever. It’s also sustainable in the manner that we handle each other. I believe that a large part of the luxury brands now have become brands just and they are no more houses. I enjoy the maison concept. When you are a maison you are a household. All of us, we are missing this. I am thankful we are bringing back that hyperlink.”
The Balenciaga announcement comes at a critical moment for couture. On Friday, Jean Paul Gaultier took to Twitter to say that his spring 2020 couture series, scheduled for this Wednesday, would be his last. Under normal conditions, Gaultier’s news could have prompted concern about the area of extravagantly costly one-off tailleurs and gowns in a fast fashion world. But though? Gvasalia’s impact not just on the look of style, but also on how manufacturers operate has been tremendous. He could just spark a couture renaissance.