Did Demna deliver for Balenciaga like Alessandro Michele did for Gucci? That’s the question that is burning on the lips of a lot of fashion enthusiasts lately. After Alexander Wang left Balenciaga in late July 2015, Demna Gvasalia took over his position of creative director at the brand. Gvasalia has previously worked at Louis Vuitton and Maison Martin Margiela, amongst others. But he’s most known for his job as head designer and spokesperson at Vetements.
When Demna Gvassalia was appointed as Creative Director at Balenciaga, people expected Balenciaga to flourish. One year after the appointment, Balenciaga is struggling with its sales numbers and people start to rethink the matter.
The Alessandro Michele effect
Balenciaga and Gucci are both brands that are part of the Kering group, just like Alexander McQueen, Brioni, Saint Laurent and many more. When the Kering group was struggling to keep Gucci in the game, they hired Alessandro Michele to save the nearly sinking ship. Michele did wonders for Gucci as he reinvented the brand’s use of logo’s and its nerdy-chic vibe. Gucci, nowadays, is stronger than ever. The Italian brand grew more than 10% in sales last year and had overal positive results in 2016.
People at Kering were hoping for Demna Gvasalia to do the same at Balenciaga. Bryanboy was tweeting about the situation when an anonymous twitter account responded. The anonymous account tweeted “I’m working at Kering and it’s giving headaches. They expected the same that Alessandro M [did] at Gucci with Demna but… nope“. The tweet got a lot of attention and was later deleted, letting us in the dark about any further information. The only thing we’ve got is a screenshot from the infamous tweet.
One of the possible reasons why Balenciaga isn’t working as good as Gucci these days is the following. It’s scientifically proven that people tend to prefer colorful and bright designs in times of crisis and politically uncertain moments. Another thing people prefer in hard times are logos. It brings a certain kind of security and it brings back memories of the past, when times were better. Let’s just think about the whole Trump-situation in the USA. We could all use some color nowadays, couldn’t we? Gucci has everything you need when it comes to color and logos, unlike Balenciaga…
A thing that people say about Demna Gvasalia’s take on Balenciaga is that it looks a lot like Vetements, the designer’s other brand that he’s working with. We, at Enfnts Terribles HQ, agree with that. We also think he should find new ways to design things for Balenciaga. The things he does with Vetements are wonderful and straight up ingenious, but it isn’t working at Balenciaga. The challenge for Demna Gvasalia is to create an own style for both labels that isn’t too similar.
We do have to admit that the designer is slowly getting there. Balenciaga’s latest collections were better than the ones before and weren’t that similar with the Vetements ones. Baby steps!
Balenciaga’s signature style?
Balenciaga kinda lost its signature style that Nicolas Ghesuière carefully created. The collections have become a patchwork of key pieces instead of a whole. There’s the Motorcycle bag and its 20K variants, the Ceinture Ankle boot and now the Demna touch. All good but we don’t see a match there. Maybe they first have to start looking for a red thread to make the Spanish label rise and shine again.
Photo credits: Twitter, W Magazine.