Designer Demna Gvasalia has cultivated a devoted following as the head of zeitgeisty design collective Vetements, but when he was announced as Alexander Wang‘s successor at Balenciaga in October, the question loomed: Would a relatively obscure designer best known for selling $1,000 hoodies to fans like Kanye West be able to translate that talent to a storied French fashion house with a nearly hundred-year legacy?
“We really wanted somebody that has a vision, and someone capable of reshuffling the cards,” Balenciaga’s president and chief executive Isabelle Guichot told Women’s Wear Daily at the time of the appointment. “I was really amazed by his ability to develop an approach to the brand that was really new and that was really his own … what should be the attitude, what should be the silhouette, what should be the volumes.”
Today in Paris, we finally got a first look at what these all will look like: Gvasalia played with proportions, showing suiting with padded hips and raised, close-cut shoulders—a technique he’s honed at Vetements that meshes well with Balenciaga’s heritage of cocoon coats and egg dresses. Outerwear was a standout, with ski parkas and puffer coats emblazoned with the house’s logo across the back—genuinely practical pieces with a fashion bent that street style stars are sure to snap up by next February.
Even the hodgepodge floral dresses, shown with candy cane striped tights and seemingly composed of a thrift store’s floweriest textiles, may sell well, if their Vetements counterparts from past seasons are any indication.
Accessories is no doubt a category that the brand’s owner, luxury powerhouse Kering, is hoping Gvasalia will thrive with, considering the cash brought in by past moneymakers like the City Bag—and today the designer showed a few contenders: top-handle bags in mauve and rust, super-sized striped totes, and clunky platform boots. And, while they’re not likely to catch on en masse, we wouldn’t be surprised if you start seeing statement eyeglass chains making the rounds in the coming months.
Click through the slideshow for highlights from the show—including the parkas, platforms, and embellished heels—and head to Vogue.com to see the full collection.