Balenciaga v Vetements: an identity crisis 🍔👗🍟

Demna Gvasalia was appointed as Balenciaga’s creative director soon after Vetements became the hottest fashion label around the world. Do you own an extremely long sleeved shirt/ t-shirt because you think it’s cool, trendy and you’ve seen other bloggers on instagram wearing it too? You’re probably not alone. I, for one, give Demna the credit for setting this trend that we’ve seen on several runways ever since he popped into the fashion world. Whether we should thank him for that is another story… for now, let’s talk about two of the labels he currently designs for. After seeing the looks at Balenciaga’s READY-TO-WEAR SPRING 2017 Paris Fashion Week show this week, I was left wondering whether he is he fit to run two labels at the same time? Whether he has the same creative vision for both? Whether Vetements was inspiring Balenciaga or vise versa? In conclusion I was left wondering whether I was watching the Vetements or Balenciaga show? Let’s talk…

“It is important to know the past to feel the future” Demna claims, hence the similar creative vision to that of Cristobal. Everything was tailored implacably. No one’s denying that and no one ever will, but before we talk about the clothes, let’s talk about the bags… Were they *ermmmm*, Eastpack gym duffle bags? I don’t know, but what I do know is that they were awful. The size, the way they walked down the runway and kept hitting the models legs, oh no, no, no. After all, Demna did collaborate with Eastpack for Vetements last season, so it is only fair to assume they inspired him? No shade.

Bags aside, let’s talk clothes. Look 1 comes down the runway and it is an over the top shoulder padded trench coat. Was it Balenciaga-esque? yes, creative? yes, unique? not so much, new? not really. It’s something we’ve seen quite a bit since Demna was given the role of creative director at Balenciaga. We’ve seen it in his menswear debut and we’re seeing it again now. That was the recurring theme: the overly padded shoulder jacket, a Balenciaga classic. The floral prints made a return as well. The unique silhouettes with that pattern were seen down the runway. The latex boots inspired by fetishism had their fair share of attention as well. He did not let them down, they were pretty much paired with every other look. I’m not going to even bother commenting on the vests and capes that we saw, because, let’s just not. However, can we take a moment to appreciate look number 11 (shown below). That was amazing, that’s the Balenciaga I personally love and would want to see more of.

I’ve rambled a bit too much about the show itself, but the point of this blog is to highlight the similarities between the two labels Demna’s in charge of, so let’s talk about that. To start off, we can’t not comment on the overly padded shoulders. It’s something we’ve seen before by Demna at Vetements and we’re seeing it again at Balenciaga. I’m not saying he’s the one who created that trend/look, what I’m referring to is how interesting it was to see the similarities given that he’s the one in charge of both labels; hence why they were executed in almost exactly the same way by both. The over the thigh/ trouser looking boots, also seen that at Vetements and in their collaboration with Manolo Blahnikhq last season were quite similar to what we just saw at Balenciaga. The similarities are very interesting (see images below). The point that I’m trying to make is: can Demna handle the pressure of designing for two different fashion houses? Is he capable of separating his creative vision for both labels? I can’t really answer that, but for all I’ve seen is that he may be able to as the other looks at Balenciaga prove that. However, he needs to separate his vision for both labels as some of the looks are becoming repetitive. Kanye West regards him as a fashion genius and he is indeed one. As soon as Balenciaga announced his appointment as the new creative director late last year, I jumped on the excited bandwagon eagerly waiting to see how he was about to re-launch one of the most respected fashion brands to date. Ghesquiere (who’s now at LV) was amazing, Wang did it no justice, and Demna may currently be in a funk, but I’m hopeful that he’ll be able to come out of it greater.

An evident identity crisis lies within both labels and Demna must re-evaluate his creative vision before it’s too late. For all I know nothing is predictable in the fashion world, Justin Oshea was just given the boot after 6 months only at Brioni. But I’m sure with how good Balenciaga has been doing, Demna has nothing to worry about – or does he? Let’s discuss below!

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Vetements (left), Balenciaga (right) – the floral prints make their debut at both shows.

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Vetements (left), Balenciaga (right) – Same model, a similar silhouette with the floral prints at both shows.

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Vetements (left), Balenciaga (right) – The floral boots make their appearance at both shows as well.5

Balenciaga Menswear Spring ’17 (left), Balenciaga Ready to Wear Spring ’17 (right – Look 11) – the same structure in both jackets for both shows. 6

Vetements (left), Balenciaga (right) – similar boots in both shows.

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Balenciaga (left), Vetements (right) – similar overly padded shoulder jackets in both shows.88

Balenciaga (left), Vetements (right) – similar overly padded shoulder pieces in exactly the same way/tailoring shown in both shows.

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