how the world went gaga for balenciaga

In this week’s episode of i-D’s fashion podcast, Fash-ON Fash-OFF, we take a deep dive into Demna’s most Demna show yet.

08 March 2018, 2:36pm

Fashion can be strange. Fashion can be confusing. Fashion can, at times, be out and out bonkers. But that’s what makes it brilliant.

In this new podcast from i-D, we discuss the highs and lows of Fashion Week, the shows we’re obsessed with and get the front row report from our guests, as we ask -- well, how did we get here?

In the first episode of Fash-On Fash-OFF, we talked about New York designers reflecting the political situation in the US. For London, we discussed the wellspring of youth creativity. For Milan, the references to strong and powerful women. When it comes to Paris, though -- it’s all about design.

What the city lacks in out-and-out revolution, it makes up for in quality. The scale! The ateliers! The level of talent and expectation! Here, fashion has to be the highest quality it can be. These are houses building on their aesthetics, playing with their codes -- and nowhere is that more prevalent than at Balenciaga.

This Paris Fashion Week saw Balenciaga creative director Demna Gvasalia present what he described as his “second first show”. He said: “I’ve spent the last two years exploring what the legacy of what Cristóbal [Balenciaga] means today. How could I, as a designer, translate the house legacy for now and for tomorrow.”

And, you know -- it's kind of bonkers that the Georgia-born designer has only been there for a couple of years, isn’t it really? Alexander Wang’s Balenciaga already feels like a lifetime ago -- and that’s not to say there was anything wrong with Alexander Wang’s Balenciaga, fact fans! It’s just the extent to which Demna has pushed it on is incredible.

In his show report, i-D Fashion Features Editor Steve Salter said: “While his first few seasons at the house could be read as Demna Gvasalia for Balenciaga, this season marked the new Balenciaga, created by Demna Gvasalia.” You had the hoodies, the oversized parkas, the branded t-shirts. And yet, even in tricks such as the use of 3D body scanning and digital fittings, there retained the trademark sense of volume and innovation -- another house playing with its codes, as is the Paris way.

This episode we’re talking all things Paris Fashion Week. You’ll listen to us cogitate on the week’s best fashions -- the who, the what, the where, the wow. We’ll hear from creative director Demna Gvasalia backstage at Balenciaga’s autumn/winter 18 show. And we’ll take a deep dive into that collection as we discuss where the designer has taken the house since he gained control of it from Alexander Wang in 2015. This I’m joined over Skype by i-D Junior Fashion Editor Bojana Kozarevic.

Every Thursday. Fash-ON Fash-OFF.

You can listen to Fash-On Fash-Off on Acast, Apple or wherever it is you get your podcasts.