Hazine

30.12.2015 - Estelle Marandon, Marie Danker

Designer

NEW FORCE AHEAD!

TURBULENT TIMES FOR THE FASHION BUSINESS: BIG NAMES SUCH AS RAF SIMONS AND ALBER ELBAZ BID FAREWELL AND NON-FAMILIARISED NAMES OCCUR. STARTING WITH ALESSANDRO MICHELE, WHO SHED NEW LIGHT ON GUCCI AND THUS PUT THE LABEL BACK IN THE FAST LANE, IT IS NOW DEMNA GVASALIA’S TURN.

The Georgian designer who holds the German nationality has been announced, at the end of the previous Fashion week, as the new Creative Director for Balenciaga. Following in the footsteps of Alexander Wang, Demna Gvasalia will be debuting his first show during Fashion Week in March 2016 with the Ready-to-Wear collection. His announcement resulted in discussions.

THE NEW PRODIGY



Outside fashion business Gvasalia is barely known. To know him, one must be interested in the Parisian fashion underground. In this milieu he is celebrated as the new prodigy as he is the founder and speaker of Vetements, a brand that proved to be a talking point from its very beginning in March 2014. Quite simple the idea of naming his brand Vetement, the French word for clothing, there could not be a more banal name for a fashion brand but neither could there be a more suitable one, describing the concept and what his brand stands for with one word only. Neither the label nor the designers are placed more in the foreground than the apparel. Vetements wants to get off from short-lived trends and lifted collection concepts. 


COLLECTIVE WORKING

At the peak of this new hyped label there is Demna Gvasalia, who would not dare to call himself Creative Director, because this would be against his principles. Since the start of his brand, he gathers talented colleagues around him to work equally and collectively. At the present time, the group comprises 15 designers. His concept reminds a little of Martin Margiela who has been committed to anonymity since the beginning of his career and who is often compared to Gvasalia, who worked previously under his leadership. In addition, both studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp. But for Gvasalia it is not so much his identity to be kept secret as it is the democratic aspect and the teamwork. As the founder of the group, he remained anonymous and went public at the end of 2014. This decision was due to his contractual obligations with Louis Vuitton, where he worked as Senior Designer. The 34-year old designer explained that the idea of Vetements occurred from frustrations about the system. How collections arise and what kind of fashion is being offered nowadays. Vetements doesn’t want to put that pressure of creating something unprecedented. “ There are so many collections out there, so much fashion”, said Gvasalia. It would be idle to try to top that. He would rather change the things the way he likes them. In plain language: Vetement gives a new look to classics such as Shirts, military coats or hoodies. 


OPPOSITES ATTRACT



Already during the Parisian Pret-a-Porter shows in October it was rumoured that Gvasalia might be announced as the new Chief Designer at Balenciaga. But nobody really wanted to believe that. The unlike fashion democrat and the highly elitist luxury label? Cristóbal Balenciaga, who founded his fashion House in 1937 in Paris, was kind of a monarch; only a few handpicked guests were invited to his shows. Gvasalia on the other hand runs his label anti-authoritarian and close to people. But the two fashion designers are not as diametrically opposed as it might appear at first glance. Cristóbal Balenciaga was known for his love for radical forms and his sculptural designs. One need only to think of the cocoon coat or the sac dress. Also at Vetements the proportions play the most important role, although the aesthetics are more masculine.

SAINT LAURENT, GUCCI, BALENCIAGA

The Bosses of the Kering Group however - to which the labels Saint Laurent, Gucci and Balenciaga belong amongst others - seem to feel confident. In his statement, Francois-Henri Pinault praised Gvasalias “exceptional access to this metiers ”. He is confident that the Georgian designer, who recently has been nominated for the LVMH-Award, will lead the house to success. As conceptual Gvasalia’s approach might be, in the end the designer follows a commercial line: fashion should be both, fun and wearable. We can only tell after his debut collection, come spring, if he really turns out to be the right choice for Balenciaga.

Short Facts

Trademark

The Designer doesn’t create clothes from the very beginning; he rather changes them and gives clothes a complete makeover. 

Distinctiveness

Demna Gvasalia prefers that his collections represent his brand rather than his face, he does not call himself Head of Design and equally works in a team with 15 designers for his brand Vetements.  


Timeline

1981 – Georgia

Demna Gvasalia is born on March 25 in Sokhumi, Georgia.

2006 – Graduation

He studies at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp and graduates in 2006.

2007 – Stereotypes

Gvasalia’s first label Stereotypes debuts for Japan Fashion Week in Tokyo.

2009 – Maison Martin Margiela

Demna is announced Senior Designer at the house of Martin Margiela.

2012 – French Fashion

The Designer is announced Senior Designer at Louis Vuitton and works under former Balenciaga artistic director Nicolas Ghesquière.

2014 – Vetements

Demna Gvasalia raises his own brand Vetements that focuses on garments more than it does on the brand. 

2016 – Debut

He will be debuting his first collection for Balenciaga during Paris Fashion Week 2016. 

Photo:

© Balenciaga, Vetements

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