Demna Gvasalia presented his first couture collection as creative director of Balenciaga on July 7, the first for the house since Cristóbal Balenciaga left the industry in 1967

A lot was riding on Gvasalia's first couture collection for Balenciaga since the designer, who is also the co-founder of Vetements, joined the couture house in 2015. It's no small feat to step into the shoes of one of fashion's most legendary figures who was known as the master of haute couture. And so Gvasalia opted to respectfully pay tribute in every way, starting with renovating and hosting the show at Balenciaga's intimate salon where he once presented his collections. The pieces too, in exaggerated proportions, were an homage to the master, who created incredible silhouettes for women using the shape of his garments. 

 

They were of course also technically impressive, with Gvasalia tapping the expertise of the industry's best, from embroidery houses Atelier Jean-Pierre Ollier, to Maison Lesage, and Maison Lemarié. A "bathrobe" for instance, a favourite silhouette of Gvasalia's, resembles terrycloth but is in fact made in micro-knifed leather.

Several looks were directly taken from Balenciaga's designs, like a dress in twisted lace and tulle or a polka dotted sheer gown, handprinted on silk chiffon spot for spot to match the original. A stunning floral-embroidered gown inspired by an archival piece originally made for Jacqueline Kennedy was brought back, as well as another embellished gown with an open back and paired with trousers better fitting to Gvasalia's gender-fluid style.

Speaking of which, Gvasalia included men in the couture lineup, unheard of at the time, but less and less so today, and took direct cues from Balenciaga's own uniform for the tailored tuxes. 

The haunting finale bridal look is a take on one of Cristóbal Balenciaga’s last designs.