Balenciaga Haute Couture Fall-Winter 2023

Balenciaga Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2023


Embodying an intriguing blend of classic and contemporary influences, the Balenciaga Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2023 provides an audacious and poignant vision of haute couture in the present era.

Just like a multi-layered tapestry woven with elaborate narratives and metaphoric innuendos, the Balenciaga Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2023 collection boasts a vast array of gobsmacking attire, all carrying symbolic interpretations. At the heart of the collection lies an arresting metal ball gown, akin to Joan of Arc’s armor, reflecting the designer, Demna’s sanctuary, purpose and personal armor against critical jabs. “Making clothes is my armor”, he eloquently reveals, laying bare his experiences with judgment and resilience through his expressive work.

With mammoth-sized men’s overcoats and scarves frozen in windswept positions, the collection seems to insinuate the passing of a tempest, possibly alluding to Balenciaga’s previous advertising scandal. Meanwhile, an abundance of trompe-l’oeil pieces, ranging from jeans to tweed jackets and fur coats, all meticulously crafted from painted canvas, underline the concept of illusion and the limitless possibilities within haute couture.

Walking through the expanded salons of George V, twice the size compared to the previous year, one can’t help but sense an amplified energy that envelops Balenciaga’s newest couture offering. The electric atmosphere was further charged by the presence of celebrities like Cardi B, Offset, Michelle Yeoh, and Yseult, poised on golden chairs, adding a dash of star-studded glamour to the event.

Equally captivating was the melodic voice of Maria Callas, made possible through a laborious AI-assisted engineering process. Stripped of orchestral accompaniment, the couture soundtrack heightened the emotional dimension of the show, matching the grandeur of the fashion on display.

On a more technological note, Demna’s inventive integration of technology and couture manifested in the face shields, designed in collaboration with Mercedes-Benz Formula 1 racing engineers. Among the notable accessories were purse-like portable speakers by Bang & Olufsen, which, according to Balenciaga CEO Cédric Charbit, have become some of the best-selling items at Balenciaga Couture stores.

The collection’s finale look, a marvel of modern technology, was a CAD-designed, 3D-printed gown made of chromed galvanized resin, complete with a velvet lining. Yet, in an intriguing juxtaposition, Demna also engaged fine artists to hand-paint pattern pieces, infusing a touch of traditional craft into this futuristic collection.

Here, Demna bridges the gap between high fashion and streetwear, introducing new ways to bring couture into the urban scene without any reliance on logos. Bulbous silhouettes and lustrous fabrics serve as silent yet potent insignias of the brand.

Demna’s exceptional double-breasted tailoring contrasted sharply with the hand-painted men’s looks, conveying a certain nonchalant, vintage vibe. “I like the couture that you can see, but I also like couture that you don’t see”, Demna notes, drawing parallels between his philosophy and that of Cristóbal Balenciaga, the brand’s legendary founder.

Without a doubt, the Balenciaga Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2023 collection represents a thrilling crossroads where tradition meets innovation. From CAD-designed gowns to hand-painted pieces, it reverberates with an alluring energy, a testament to both the history of Balenciaga and the evolving identity of couture itself.

The streetwear-inspired designs push the envelope further, redefining the parameters of couture in an increasingly casual and logo-driven fashion landscape. Bulbous anoraks and puffers might eschew the brand’s emblem, but they boldly carry the unique aesthetic DNA that is unmistakably Balenciaga.

Among the collection’s standout pieces are the hand-painted menswear designs. Despite their rumpled and retro feel, they carry an air of understated elegance that underscores Demna’s philosophy of invisible couture. “I think that’s also a big part of who I am in making clothes, but also a big part of who Cristóbal Blenciaga was”, he said.

In a world where fashion often falls prey to ostentatious displays of wealth, the Balenciaga Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2023 collection offers a refreshing take. It challenges the common perceptions of luxury, valuing innovation, craftsmanship, and subtlety over conspicuous consumption.

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