Balenciaga | 53rd Couture Collection

Feeding Fashion Vocabulary

Written by

Emma Raff

Photographed by

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Styled by

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Speaking on Balenciaga’s 53rd Couture Collection, long-time creative director, Demna, shares, “This couture collection is a tribute to subculture dress codes as important influences of my fashion vocabulary. I chose four permanent components of Cristóbal Balenciaga’s last two decades of collections and applied them on my design aesthetic in order to create a bridge between Balenciaga’s signature elegance and silhouette and my own personal style.” The newest collection embodies the brand’s creator, incorporating Balenciaga’s iconic 3/4 length sleeves, cocoon-like silhouette, and extravagant headwear. For Demna, the looks allude to the influential dress codes of specific subcultures: goth, skater, metalhead. Glamorized “savoir-faire” is the motto— social cognizance—as Balenciaga pays tribute to the pursuit of perfection.

The fashion house also releases a video today as a part of its “savoir-faire” series, which shows footage from its atelier and captures the painstaking techniques used to craft selected garments from the new collection, including the synthesized fur floor-length gown. Balenciaga has been committed to faux fur since 2020, and many of Demna’s looks in the 53rd Collection employ this dedication to sustainability, constructing garments and accessories out of upcycled and reconstructed materials, such as the white column dress: plastic bags melted and molded onto the model’s body. 

Other notable looks include a series of headwear that appear to be piles of fabric and were, in fact, t-shirts, hand-draped and dunked in resin to keep their shape in collaboration with artist Ni Hao. Jackets tied around the waist are sewn into one solid garment, and butterfly motifs echo the creative process of “drape, un-drape.” In the final look, the atelier team drapes 47 meters of fabric onto the model in a choreographed sequence, only to be worn once.

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Balenciaga, Demna, 53rd Couture Collection, fashion, sustainability, Emma Raff