Boxy? As in ’80s aggro power suits? Or 1940s Zoot suits? Boxy, like linebacker chic? Or David Byrne circa “Burnin’ Down the House”? Well, the answer is a measured yes…. all of the above… and more. Balennciaga’s new creative director Demna Gvasalia, who has never before designed an entire men’s collection, debuted his bold new vision yesterday, experimenting with tailoring and playing with scale. He showed suits that were both incredibly super-shouldered, and super-skinny and just like that, the tyranny of the skinny suit was over. It’s as if the last decade of menswear has been swept away into the dustbin of pop culture, THANK GOD!
Explains the Financial Times:
By doing so, he created a menswear collection of power and authority. He also joins a clutch of other young designers — Grace Wales Bonner; Gosha Rubchinskiy — whose new take on tailoring makes traditional suit brands look lame.
“Cristobal was a tailor himself,” said Gvasalia, backstage. He was talking of Cristóbal Balenciaga, the founder of the house. “He made his own clothes. He was one of the few couturiers who could make his own clothes from A-Z, and for me it was quite obvious to work on tailoring.” The opening jackets and coats came with shoulders that extended wide and far from the body. Underneath, shirts were buttoned to the neck. Shorts sat tight to the leg, cut just below the knee. It’s a look of intent.
Gvasalia said this was all a nod to the brand’s heritage of playing with scale. “For me, Balenciaga is about experimenting with shapes and volumes and the silhouette,” he said. Indeed as much as the wide tailoring was impressive, it was those snug double breasted jackets that really hit home, the line long, the front panel almost reaching over to the other side. The buttons were concealed, but stitching showed where they sat, with exaggerated spacing in a big square to the side of the stomach. After so many days of the menswear shows, it’s easy to get overexcited about the placement of buttons. This showed the depth of thought which made this collection so bracing.
Kind of digging it. Kind of hating it. As somebody who lived through the big-shouldered ’80s, I don’t know that I’m allowed to partake of the trend when it comes back around. Then again, a boxy silhouette hides a multitude of flaws.
Check out the runway images below and decide for yourself