PARIS — Balenciaga is ramping up its men’s wear department.
The storied French maison said it would stage a runway show on June 22 during Paris fashion week — a first for the 99-year-old brand. Previously, collections had been shown by appointment in a presentation format.
“The show will debut the masculine vision of Balenciaga’s new artistic director Demna Gvasalia,” the company said in a statement on Thursday.
Gvasalia joined the brand last fall, succeeding Alexander Wang. He staged his first show for Balenciaga in March during the women’s ready-to-wear week, receiving largely positive reviews, while the brand’s last men’s collection was designed by the studio, following Wang’s departure.
The 34-year-old is also founder and designer of Vetements, one of Paris’ hottest labels, which is known for its streetwear edge and androgynous character.
Born in Georgia, Gvasalia first studied international economics at Tbilisi State University before enrolling in Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts, which spawned the original Antwerp Six in the early Eighties. He graduated with a master’s degree in fashion design in 2006, later that year collaborating with Walter van Beirendonck, one of the Six, on his men’s collections.
His other stints include Maison Margiela as well as Louis Vuitton, where he was senior designer of women’s ready-to-wear collections, initially under Marc Jacobs and briefly under Nicolas Ghesquière.
Following Gvasalia’s hire, Balenciaga chief executive officer and president Isabelle Guichot told WWD that the brand was looking for “somebody that has a vision and [is] capable of reshuffling the cards.”
Much like the brand’s founder, Cristóbal Balenciaga, Gvasalia was a rule-breaker, she acknowledged.
“I was really amazed by his ability to develop an approach to the brand that was really new and that was really his own,” she added.
At Vetements, Gvasalia has developed a unique aesthetic based on strangely distorted proportions, but translated into a wardrobe of classic men’s and women’s wear staples.