The truth is the "new" Balenciaga under the direction of Vetements' Demna Gvasalia isn't actually all that new. In fact, the designer, who debuted his first Balenciaga collection at Fall '16 Paris Fashion Week, offers a return to Cristóbal Balenciaga's archives with the proportional play and the exaggerated silhouettes you see throughout. But that may be an even harder ask of any designer than making something entirely new. Demna is at the center of a unique kind of pressure — celebrated for the uniqueness of his own line while stepping in to fill the shoes at one of the industry's most celebrated design houses, with its own history and its own look.
How do you answer that call? For Demna, it's a bit of a balancing act. And you can see from the clothes that he's out to please the Balenciaga customer, but not without his own branding. "My first priority was to understand the methodology of Cristóbal, his work around the body, and how to do it today, in 2016," he told WWD during a collection preview. That "in 2016" bit is key. The same way he does with his own line, here, too, he crafts clothes women want to wear now. He adapts the basics, things like jean jackets, trench coats, and parkas, with modern finesse. They're chic and fashion-forward but, most importantly, wearable — and that's why you see them everywhere. If you make beautiful clothes that no one can wear, who really cares, right? For Demna, that's fundamental, and that may just be why we can't stop talking about him or his clothes.