PARIS — Demna Gvasalia is giving a whole new meaning to industrial chic.
The designer has overhauled Balenciaga’s Rue Saint-Honoré flagship with a new concept designed to resemble a clothing warehouse. The 3,200-square-foot women’s wear boutique, close to Colette, is set to open today.
Clothes hang on industrial conveyor rails similar to those in the brand’s production headquarters in Italy. Adding to the factory feel of the space, ceilings are covered in aluminum foil, the changing room walls are made of cast concrete and the utilitarian benches are covered in synthetic leather.
Other industrial touches include silicone changing-room curtains and long, aluminum tables that will display accessories. The design touches are “a final detail central to the new Balenciaga ethos of enhancing, underlining and re-presenting that which already exists in a new light,” the brand said.
The store, on the premises of a former gas station, originally opened in 2012 with a design by then-creative director Nicolas Ghesquière.
Gvasalia, who heads both Balenciaga and Vetements, is part of a cadre of creative types from Eastern Europe that have taken the fashion world by storm with a raw, underground aesthetic shaped by the experience of growing up after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Alongside stylist Lotta Volkova, his right-hand woman, and Russian streetwear star Gosha Rubchinskiy, he has championed a lo-fi aesthetic marked by oversize volumes, garish color and a fluid approach to gender. It’s a group that thrives on a collaborative approach and a postmodern take on references borrowed from Nineties sportswear, uniforms and subcultures.
Last week, Balenciaga unveiled a stripped-down version of its e-commerce site featuring a bare-bones menu inspired by an Excel spreadsheet.