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In his inaugural womenswear collection for Balenciaga, presented in March, creative director Demna Gvasalia front-loaded the runway lineup with boxy, sculptural blazers. Showing his first menswear range in Paris on Wednesday, Gvasalia took that premise to even more exaggerated extremes and filled the catwalk with crisp, ultra-wide suit jackets that extended well off the models’ natural shoulders.
Well, there was that, and then there were suits that did quite the opposite, pinching at the waist and upper thighs. (Whether they were as uncomfortable to wear as they appeared, we’d have to ask the models.) Some looks combined both sizing inclinations in an almost cartoonish way, like a looming black jacket worn with super-skinny pants that stopped short at the knees.
It’s not hard to miss the through lines between Gvasalia’s Balenciaga and Vetements, the feverishly popular line he co-launched in 2014. Vetements’s fall 2016 collection also included a mixture of linebacker shoulders and tight, intentionally awkward tailoring. And the branded baseball hats in Gvasalia’s men’s show for Balenciaga were pure Vetements: unpretentious and a no-brainer purchase for street style fixtures.
Suiting aside, the heeled boots Gvasalia presented in his Balenciaga menswear collection were a win for the case that androgyny shouldn’t default to mean women wearing typically masculine clothing, as it too often does. A close-cut vest and pants in a vivid shade of purple added a more obvious dose of glam rock to the procession.
If this is the sort of masculinity we can expect from Balenciaga’s menswear collection under Gvasalia, we’re here for it — and we’re guessing magazine stylists will be, too. The question now is how many of those ultra-wide and ultra-narrow runway pieces will actually make it to stores.