Balenciaga’s Return to Couture Was Definitely worth the 53-Yr Wait

A glance from the Balenciaga Fall 2021 Haute Couture assortment. 

Kanye West, James Harden and Anna Wintour walked into Cristobal Balenciaga’s original salon on Wednesday to witness Demna Gvasalia’s debut Haute Couture collection for the house. Though, only two appeared to be in attendance, as West donned a full face covering to sit front row. Still, the Yeezy designer was indeed present — and boy, was he lucky. 

It was a day of many firsts: the first time Balenciaga has shown couture since the closure of the house’s atelier in 1968; the first time that the brand included men’s looks in its couture offering; the first time the Georgian designer designed couture for the label; the first time Ella Emhoff modeled in a couture show. 

The Fall 2021 collection is every bit a love letter to the house’s founding father, packed with bold architectural shapes and exaggerated proportions and sticking to the couture presentation format by opening the show with all-black looks, to allow the audience to focus on the silhouettes. Once the impeccable tailoring of the pieces — a series of wool suits for men and women, black-washed denim, double-breasted floor-sweeping coats and padded satin stoles — had been clearly established, the designs become more daring in color, texture, cut and proportion. From a vibrant orange swing-back jacket and skirt to a hybrid of a parka and ball gown in a vivid cerulean hue, Gvasalia takes the haute couture customer somewhere sophisticated and elegant over the rainbow. 

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