When It Became Cool To Be Cool

by MR Magazine Staff

Seating was limited at the most anticipated fashion show of 2016, as you would expect. The invitations, printed primly with each attendee’s name and affiliation, no larger than a pack of gum and eminently lose-able in the dark hole of a handbag, were in short supply. If there was a no-show or an empty seat in the padded television studio where Demna Gvasalia was showing his first collection for Balenciaga, I didn’t see it. Could it work? Six months later, the starchy plaid coats and skirts he designed, mostly deflated of their padded hips and shoulders, were the thing to wear to his latest show; his swanning denim jackets and ski parkas, falling off the shoulders as if pulled by a stronger gravity than their wearers, are selling out. So in a word: Yes. Mr. Gvasalia had been an unexpected choice for Balenciaga, a sainted name in Paris fashion, when he was appointed, to shock and clamor late in 2015, five months before. He was the reigning head of Vetements, a largely anonymous designer collective whose productions grew in rumor and regard until their after-hours, off-the-schedule presentations (9 p.m. at the sex club!) conferred bragging rights on those who ventured off the grid to find them. But when he ascended to the top of a historic Parisian maison, he did not seem cowed by the height. He did not ship in the celebrities or the supermodels to deck out his show. Where his predecessor had Gisele strut the catwalk, he has had Lotta Volkova, his friend and stylist, with a mushroom haircut and a thousand-yard stare. Mr. Gvasalia did not cast off Vetements. He brought it with him. Read more at The New York Times.