It has been a hot minute since Balenciaga put on a physical couture show, fifty-three years to be exact. We were ready for their couture unveiling a year ago but its Creative Director, Demna Gvasalia, put anything physical of this nature on hold due to the pandemic.

Today, however, Gvasalia revealed what he had been cooking up over the past year, an outing that marked Balenciaga’s 50th couture collection, which was attended by the industry’s biggest editors including Vogue’s Anna Wintour, BoF’s Imran Amed, and photographer Juergen Teller in his signature shorter-than-short fluorescent shorts. James Harden, Lil Baby, and Bella Hadid sat elsewhere, couture’s new gen. And then there was Kanye West, in a never-before-seen black colorway of his “Round” Yeezy Gap coat paired with a zipped hooded hoodie, adidas Foam Runners, and white sports socks by… Nike?

Back to Balenciaga. Under the roof of 10 Avenue Georges V in Paris, Gvasalia rebuilt Cristóbal Balenciaga’s original couture salon, but something was different. As if time had stood still, ceilings were moldy, the dry walls appeared dirty, and silk curtains contained water stains. The decor symbolized the notion that nothing has changed, yet everything has changed, a thread throughout the show presentation.

“Over half a century later I see it as my creative obligation to the unique heritage of Balenciaga to bring couture back to his house,” noted Gvasalia in the show notes. “It’s the very foundation of this century-old mansion.”

The pandemic gave vision to the Creative Director and the relaunch of couture completes his multi-layered vision for the brand has has come to encompass streetwear staples, conceptional (yet often commercial) fashion and wardrobe, and finally one-of-a-kind and made-to-measure couture pieces.

In a September 2020 interview with WWD, Gvasalia announced the brand would produce couture for men, believing men are ready for this type of high fashion. “I think men came to the point [where] they want to wear couture as well, and I know that we have some customers that will love that,” he said. “I want to kind of erase the gender identification of couture being only for women, or only for older women who have money to afford it.”

And today he did. Signatures of Gvasalia’s Balenciaga including broad shouldered tailoring and tweed overcoats, off-the-shoulder denim jackets, hourglass-shaped dresses, and big insect-like glasses merged with familiar classics of couture past, like exaggerated headwear, costume jewellery, long white gloves, and a wedding dress finale. All appeared on men in heels who wore eyeliner, women of all ages, and Ella Emhoff, the artist-turned-model and stepdaughter of US Vice President Kamala Harris. Balenciaga couture leather shopping bags, classically structured couture shapes in workwear, and t-shirts, hoodies and bathrobes perversed our notion of couture, despite being meticulously crafted with the same materials and sophisticated techniques that paid tribute to Cristóbal Balenciaga.

To view this external content, please click here.

Luxury redefined, best put by High Fashion Talk’s Director Lewis Edwards who took to the fast-growing Instagram page, that he runs with a collective of writers, after the show. “Luxury is often a facade, some old concept of what is and isn’t it which relates in no way to how people use them or live their lives. Everything is labeled luxury, down to the mediocrity of ready-meals. The concept is abstract,” he said. “Perhaps the last luxury is privacy, where anyone can be doxxed online, the redux head dishes, reflective visors, identical grooming, and the bride’s veil that closed the show provided the models with a screen between them and the world. It’s funny how fame is so desirable but soon enough we realise privacy is the real luxury and freedom in our lives.”

For the collection, the Vetements co-founder collaborated with experts, including Philip Treacy on hats, Atelier Jean-Pierre Ollier on embroidery, and storied fabric houses including Dormeuil, Taroni, and Forster Rohner. The iconic C.B. initials were hand-embroidered to add personal touches to the men’s looks from the silk ties, poplin shirts, and leather gloves. Tailoring came in fresco, mohair, cashmere, and barathea wool.

If that sounds expensive, it’s because it is. Gvasalia has sought to create couture at his highest level of design. Yet, for couture to survive today, it must also be functional. “Couture isn’t only relevant in today’s mass-productive industry, but even absolutely necessary for the survival and further evolution of modern fashion design,” he said in the show notes.

Where some of his silhouettes have felt repetitive at times, his accessories too commercial, and the overall brand too reliant on logomania, Balenciaga and its Creative Director today proved that good reinvention will drive excitement. And just like that, Gvasalia redeemed himself, at the highest level.

What To Read Next

  • Image on Highsnobiety

    Sorry Justin! Selena's Moved on to Zayn

  • Image on Highsnobiety

    Tyler, the Creator's 'Estate Sale' Era Is Off to a Stylish Start

  • Image on Highsnobiety

    Patek Philippe Winds up Watch Wonders for 2023

  • Image on Highsnobiety

    Does KITH Have Another New Balance 998 In the Works?

  • Image on Highsnobiety

    atmos & Salomon Are Dropping a Very XT-6iting Collaboration

  • Image on Highsnobiety

    These Panda Dunks Come With a Twist

*If you submitted your e-mail address and placed an order, we may use your e-mail address to inform you regularly about similar products without prior explicit consent. You can object to the use of your e-mail address for this purpose at any time without incurring any costs other than the transmission costs according to the basic tariffs. Each newsletter contains an unsubscribe link. Alternatively, you can object to receiving the newsletter at any time by sending an e-mail to

Web Accessibility Statement

Titelmedia (Highsnobiety), is committed to facilitating and improving the accessibility and usability of its Website, Titelmedia strives to ensure that its Website services and content are accessible to persons with disabilities including users of screen reader technology. To accomplish this, Titelmedia has engaged UsableNet Inc, a leading web accessibility consultant to help test, remediate and maintain our Website in-line with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which also bring the Website into conformance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.


Please be aware that our efforts to maintain accessibility and usability are ongoing. While we strive to make the Website as accessible as possible some issues can be encountered by different assistive technology as the range of assistive technology is wide and varied.

Contact Us

If, at any time, you have specific questions or concerns about the accessibility of any particular webpage on this Website, please contact us at, +49 (0)30 235 908 500. If you do encounter an accessibility issue, please be sure to specify the web page and nature of the issue in your email and/or phone call, and we will make all reasonable efforts to make that page or the information contained therein accessible for you.