Gvasalia (Balenciaga): “This is how I restart after the November crisis”

Gvasalia (Balenciaga): “This is how I restart after the November crisis”

For Balenciaga, the November crisis was huge: for image, then for reputation, and consequently financial. For Demna Gvasalia, creative director of the Kering group brand, it was a professional and personal blow. A blackout from which, he tells Repubblica, he started again by diving into the fundamentals of the profession: “Even in the darkest moments, making clothes made me happy. I understood why I do this job: not for the shows, the campaigns, the events, the success. I love making clothes. I love to see people wearing them”.

The November crisis

Two ‘unfortunate’ (understatement) advertising campaigns cast the shadow of acquiescent conduct on the issue of child abuse over the brand. The presentation in Paris was Balenciaga’s first public return after autumn’s lurch. “Honestly, apart from what happened to me, I don’t think fashion is doing well,” Gvasalia (centre, archive photo) commented on the context in which a creative director operates in the age of global communication: “There is too much uncertainty, there is a lack of direction”. In the autumn, Kering relieved Alessandro Michele of his role as creative director of Gucci for much less. The Georgian designer, we said, tried to find himself in the fundamentals of the profession: “I believe that concentrating on what you do, eliminating everything else, is the right solution. Or at least, that’s how it was for me”.

Back to fashion

Less sensationalism, more fashion, in short. “I started this collection in October: I felt I had to bring back real fashion, which had been swallowed up by increasingly spectacular fashion shows. I realised that the public thought more about the setting up than the clothes, and that didn’t sit well with me. In hindsight, the events of November confirmed that it was the right idea.

The initial 15 looks are a direct reaction to what happened to me. I made them in December, at the worst moment of the crisis,” he concludes. “I was looking for a refuge in which to find relief and protect myself from the world: I brought home a pile of old trousers and started cutting them up to make jackets, coats and other trousers. It was not a planned gesture, I just needed to do something. Gradually, they became the sartorial garments I wanted to wear”.

Pictured, two Balenciaga looks from Instagram

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