Georgian designer Demna Gvasalia has taken on the huge responsibility for re-launching the haute couture line at Balenciaga, a brand that represents the heights of creativity in fashion and French design, carrying the name of its Basque founder, Getaria-born Cristóbal Balenciaga, whose first shop was in San Sebastian.
The moment of rebirth of Balenciaga Couture took place at an event at Paris Fashion Week in July, when the Fall/Winter 2021-2022 collections were presented. We said this is a huge responsibility because we mustn’t forget that since Cristóbal Balenciaga retired in 1968, there are never again been an haute couture Balenciaga collection. That means this was a return after 53 years’ absence, and it was a resounding success, as Balenciaga shone with its own light.
Now, two days ago, showing off the Spring 2022 collection, Balenciaga triumphed in a very special way: the models showing off his collections were none other than The Simpsons, with a special 10-minute episode in which the residents of Springfield travel to Paris to strut their stuff on the catwalk during this week of fashion, modeling Balenciaga’s designs.
This mini-episode is all the rage in the media, since the Simpsons are not just a TV show, they’re history, must like the firm Cristóbal Balenciaga started.
We’ve often spoken of Belenciaga and his Basque origins and influence. True, this collection designed by a Georgian can’t be called Basque fashion, as much as it may be based on the Basque designer’s influences. But it cannot be denied that the Balenciaga fashion house is a fashion house that was created by a Basque, who was born in the Basque Country and who opened his first boutique in San Sebastian, only moving to Paris 20 years later.
As his friend Givenchy at Paris Mach said:
Il avait une vision différente de la mode…Une vision forte, à l’image du Pays Basque –avec une personnalité très basque
(He had a different vision of fashion…A strong vision, in the image of the Basque Country – with a very Basque personality)
But despite this, neither this Simpsons episode, nor the majority of the articles that speak of this collection and its very original way of presenting it, cite the Basque origins of the firm. Upon going through all these articles, we were reminded of an article in a French magazine that defined Picasso as “a French artist born in Málaga”. The UK-based AnOther Magazine is one of the few who do.
AnOther – 4/10/2021 – Great Britain
Inside Demna Gvasalia’s Revival of Balenciaga Couture
Fear.” The designer Demna Gvasalia is talking about the emotions, namely his own, triggered by the daunting task of presenting his first couture collection. It’s May 2021 – the show is in July. “This is a little bit like a therapy session,” he’ll later add, laughing. His feelings are heightened because this couture collection is not just for himself, but for the august, austere house of Balenciaga, where couture – arguably – was raised from applied to pure art at the hands of its founder, Cristóbal Balenciaga, a legend in his own lifetime, deified since. He retired in 1968 and died in 1972.