PFW: Balenciaga S/S 2017

Balenciaga S/S 17
Balenciaga Spring/Summer 2017. Photo credit: Monica Feudi

Wait, let me check the calendar. What date is this? October 2. Is Balenciaga a see-now, buy-now label? No. Okay, that means we should be looking at spring/summer collections. Uhm, I think someone forgot to tell Creative Director Demna Gvasalia which season to show this morning. This truly looked more like an autumn/winter collection than anything to do with spring/summer. Granted, spring can have some confusing weather at times, but there was very little here that would give one cause to look forward to the warmer seasons.

Instead of lightweight materials, flouncy dresses, and bolts of lace, what we saw were trenchcoats, masculine-styled blazers, long sleeves, and head-to-toe coverage. Sure, there was ONE loose flowing green floral print dress that was rather reminiscent of a grandmother’s dressing gown. There was also ONE crop top and ONE sleeveless romper, both also in head-to-toe floral print. Still, not exactly what one would consider a seasonally-friendly collection.

Much of this collection is really quite curious and I’m struggling to understand why Gvasalia would go this direction. Let’s take, for example, the spandex-laden, high-waist boot pants.  On the plus side, they come in a variety of extremely bright colors and floral patterns. Some of those colors are so bright as to risk retinal damage if one stares at them too long. At the same time, however, they look as though one is wearing their Spanx on the outside. When a top is tucked in, the look is far from attractive.

Then, there’s the matter of these puffy vests. The problems with these things are numerous. First, I don’t see much argument for having down vests in a spring collection in the first place. Second, these things are absolutely huge. Venessa Friedman at the Wall Street Journal referred to them as “life raft vests.” Indeed, there would be room both Rose and Jack on one of these things (pardon the vague Tatanic reference for those of you under 30).

Finally, let’s talk about all those rain slickers. Okay, rain is a common occurrence in spring, I’ll give you that. But making rain slickers the premiere point of the collection feels about as anti-fashion as one can get. At its worst, a yellow latex slicker looked like the same kind one might pick up at the discount store for $1.98 when caught in the middle of a sudden downpour. There is nothing attractive about that look. The finale piece is a shiny black latex number that might infer one is a comic book super villan if it weren’t so, well, shiny. The bright red spandex under that hooded piece didn’t help avoid the comic book reference, either.

Oh, and before I finish, let’s talk about the immensely oversized bags Gvasalia sent down with these looks. Friends, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you’re not getting on the plane with that bag. They’re twice the size of a carry-on and look more as though one might be carrying all their worldly belongings. There’s also a very round version of these very large bags. Sorry, you’ll have to check that one, too.

I’ve never spent a spring in Georgia (the country, not the Southern state) where Gvasalia grew up. Perhaps they have really lousy weather in the spring there. That’s the only reason I can think of to explain Demna’s odd take on spring/summer. Let’s hope he finds a warmer, happier place for next season.

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