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  • Written by Samuel Gut

BALENCIAGA'S HAUTE COUTURE 24/25 SHOW: DEMNA, MASTER OF THE ARCHIVES AND CONQUERING COUTURIER



Paris Haute Couture Week is done, and Balenciaga is shining once again. But this season, more than in previous ones, Demna has found the balance between his style and the heritage of the Balenciaga house. Back on the Haute Couture calendar for four years now, this institution continues to astonish with its renewal under the guidance of its artistic director.


Behind the doors of the house’s historic headquarters, designer Demna presented 39 outfits for his Haute Couture show. Despite a mixed reception from the public, the use of couture techniques and details unique to Balenciaga is noteworthy. What has made this fashion monument famous is gracefully blended with Demna’s expertise. Instantly recognizable, the wide bell hats are adorned with various elements. Sometimes bristling with black feathers, or covered with a gray or white t-shirt, sometimes smooth and shiny like a metallic object, these emblematic hats oer elegant or surprising variations, an ambivalence of feelings that Demna has made his hallmark.


Among other signature Balenciaga elements are the cocoon silhouette, which envelops the body without suocating it, the three-quarter sleeve integrated into t-shirts and jackets, so rigid it seems carved from rock, and gloves, signs of absolute elegance nearly a hundred years ago. But the collection is not an attempt at reproduction. The search for Cristobal Balenciaga's most refined fabric has given way to Demna's upcycled and structured patchwork.


The collection has nothing to do with the two previous seasons. Tailored suits and race car driver jumpsuits have given way to a mix of streetwear, sportswear, and gothic influences. Indigo shades and denim pieces hint at Japanese culture, alongside oversized technical coats with a straight cut.


The dresses in the collection emphasize the silhouette, revealing one or two shoulders and clinging to the body. Velvet, melted and molded plastic bags, deconstructed or inside-out jeans, dozens of assembled Balenciaga denim belts, large draped black leather piece, draped golden survival blanket, or amorphous textile masse are the embodiment of the Demna dress: a multiple definition.


Necklaces, rings, metal earrings adorn the whole, itself enhanced by high or low-heeled black or silver shoes with excessively sharp points. Models don puy coats and other biker jackets worn over dark gray turtlenecks, very wide pants falling over shoes, sometimes butterfly masks, yet another means to anonymize Balenciaga followers.


Beyond the technical aspect inherent to the house, the collection is also rich in collaborations. Algerian painter Abdelhak Benallou has applied his work to two t-shirts in the collection, with hand-painted illustrations. Hairdresser Gary Gill created a piece from hand-shaped and dyed synthetic hair. And the hand-draped resin t-shirts fixed on the hats were made in collaboration with artist Ni Hao.




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