Balenciaga hasn't produced an haute couture collection since 1968, the year Cristóbal Balenciaga himself closed his atelier. Now, Gvasalia intends to bring “the modern vision of Balenciaga back to its sources of origin.”
In a statement, the designer explained: “Haute couture is the very foundation of this house, so it is my creative and visionary duty to bring couture back. For me, couture is an unexplored mode of creative freedom and a platform for innovation. It [...] offers another spectrum of possibilities in dressmaking.”
Gvasalia's announcement signals a deeper engagement with Cristóbal Balenciaga's original ideas and ethos. Described by Christian Dior as “the master of us all,” he revolutionized women’s fashion with never-before-seen shapes in the mid-20th century, such as the “ballroom hems” of the early 1950s, the “semi-fit” lines of the mid-50s and the introduction of the “sack dress” in 1957.
Since he joined Balenciaga in 2015, Gvasalia has worked closely with the Balenciaga House archives to look at the original designs of Cristóbal Balenciaga to maintain artistic integrity in cut, shape and material. Now, he's going a step further, “replicating the original salons at Balenciaga’s historical address at 10 Avenue George V.”
Cédric Charbit, President and CEO of Balenciaga, explained that the return to couture is both economically and environmentally viable. “What I feel is right about couture today is the approach is sustainable," Charbit said, before adding, “We don’t make things that won’t be kept forever.”