It was without any doubt one of the most eagerly awaited events of the fashion week. Since Demna’s appointment in 2015, Balenciaga presented its second Fall/Winter 2022-2023 haute couture collection in the mythical, pristine white salons of the Avenue Georges V, on Wednesday, July 6th. As a true ode to Balenciaga’s heritage, the Georgian designer first revived the couture tradition dear to the founder of the Parisian fashion house in 2021, by doing a mythical show in a monastic silence. For this new couture collection, Balenciaga once again created the event by bringing together a five-star cast: reality TV star and businesswoman Kim Kardashian, singer Dua Lipa, and actress Nicole Kidman slipped into the model’s skin, alongside Bella Hadid and Naomi Campbell. As a meeting ground for craftsmanship and innovation, haute couture obeys technical rules rather than aesthetic ones. However, mixing his personal aesthetic infused with streetwear references, with pieces directly inspired by the house’s archives, Demna is drawing the contours of a new kind of luxury. As the very first Parisian Balenciaga Couture store opened its doors at the historic 10 Avenue George V, fifty-three years after the foundation of the house, Balenciaga couture merged with Demna’s subversive touch more than ever.
Fitted cuts or maxi volumes, sober color palette or denim, rubber or aluminum-effect materials, compose the basic elements of a collection with a dramatic aesthetic. Heavy, imposing dresses, and black dresses with delicate feathers, embody the spirit of this collection. The fifty-nine divine silhouettes, most of them with their faces covered, crystallize the genius and know-how of the house with its signature sharp cuts. Last March, Demna told fashion reporter Loïc Prigent that he wanted to move towards minimalism, and to make one-piece trompe l'oeil styles that could be worn in one go, like his famous “pantashoes”. The show opened on a succession of integral rubber suits, declining in a variety of dresses with fitted skirts and pairs of pants with tops. Further on, Demna highlighted the evening wardrobe with embroidery encrusted in thick tweed, while blue and black denim jackets were associated with vertical rubber strips sheath dresses. Elsewhere, Kim Kardashian walked the runway in a black dress with a high waistline, reminiscent of her cult look at the 2021 MET Gala, while Dua Lipa wore a short lemon-yellow dress with long black gloves. Nicole Kidman showed up in an elegant aluminum-shade draped gown, before Naomi Campbell appeared in a black evening gown with excessive volumes and collar that rose higher than her face.