Balenciaga is known for its transformative mastery of tailoring techniques. Proportion and volume are the hallmarks of the fashion house. Learn more about Balenciaga HK below.

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The Balenciaga Appeal: Making the Fashion World Obsessed

Balenciaga is one of the fashion set’s most coveted brands. Its logo often plastered across bright-coloured windbreakers or discreetly printed on the chest of an otherwise-remarkable T-shirt, has become a street-style mainstay at every fashion week.

The brand’s strong street presence, combined with its impressive social media following has garnered a global fan base that can be hard to reconcile with a century-old brand. Yet it’s founding designs that underpin the ultra-modern fashion power’s universal pull. Let’s take a look at the history of the fashion house through its iconic eras.

The Beginning: Cristóbal Balenciaga (1937-1972)

Cristóbal Balenciaga was born into fashion in 1985. His mother, a seamstress in the family’s hometown of Getaria in northern Spain, worked with the region’s most glamourous women. At 12, Cristóbal Balenciaga undertook an apprenticeship at a tailor in San Sebastian, wherein 1917 he opened his first fashion house, Eisa—the brand name, a shortened version of Eisaguirre, his mother’s maiden name.

Success saw Balenciaga open fashion houses in Madrid and Barcelona, but the Spanish Civil War forced him to close shop in 1937. Moving to Parish shortly after, the designer opened his House of Balenciaga, which swiftly became the city’s most exclusive couturier. Many of Balenciaga’s early designs were inspired by his Spanish heritage. Taking inspirations from the bullrings, the flamenco dancers, the fishermen in their boots and loose blouses, the glories of the church and the cool of the cloisters and monasteries.

The Designs

The 1950s saw Balenciaga introduce new shapes never seen before in women’s fashion. Balenciaga favoured fluid lines, developing silhouettes with broader shoulders and greater volumes. His 1953 balloon jacket (a spherical design that encased the upper body) was one of his most famous works.

Relaunch: Michel Goma and Josephus Thimister (1986-1997)

The fashion house laid dormant for 19 years before a family company known as The Bogart Group acquired the rights to Balenciaga in 1986. The brand released a new ready-to-wear line called Le Dix, a vibrant collection by Michael Goma. Goma remained at the house until 1992 when he was replaced by a noted interior decorator and designer Joseph Thimister. Tasked with restoring Balenciaga to its former glory, Thimister steered the brand back to its semi-tailored look.

‘It” Status: Nicolas Ghesquière (1997-2012)

Nicolas Ghesquière quickly filled the role, beginning his 15-year tenure at Balenciaga with a debut collection of mostly black garments that showed off his expertise for silhouette, much like Cristóbal Balenciaga himself. Ghesquière revisited many of the house’s archival pieces, infusing designs with vibrant colour and early-2000s trends such as spaghetti straps. His artful creations cemented his position within the industry and restored Balenciaga’s original high-fashion status.

Ghesquière introduced Balenciaga’s first ‘It”-bag, the Lariat, which was worn by Kate Moss, Sienna Miller and Nicole Richie. The designer’s hyper-floral prints and gladiator boots were among his most iconic designs, and now part of the house’s legacy.

Youth Appeal: Alexander Wang (2012-2015)

Alexander Wang was at the French fashion house for just six seasons but throughout his brief time at the label, gave it American access and a cool, youth appeal. Lending many of Cristóbal Balenciaga’s original designs a sporty twist (details such as exposed zippers and mesh were often seen on designs), Wang was credited for paying homage to the house’s founder.

Continuing Ghesquière’s use of celebrity influence, Wang dressed many American and British mega-starts in his Balenciaga dresses. Red-carpet moments were delivered by Lady Gaga, Julianne Moore, Kim Kardashian and Zoe Kravitz.

New Order: Demna Gvasalia (2015-)

In a move that shocked industry insiders, Demna Gavsalia was named the new artistic director of Balenciaga in 2015. After cutting his teeth at Maison Margiela and Louis Vuitton, Gvasalia co-founded Paris-based collective Vetements in 2014. The brand’s tongue-in-cheek, street-inflicted aesthetic swiftly evolved from insider secret to fashion’s hottest new label, gaining cult status for its dramatic oversizing, deconstruction and blue collar-inspired pieces.

A fellow fashion disruptor, Demna Gavsalia shared Cristóbal Balenciaga’s knack for innovation, creating with a focus on meticulous construction, considered fabrics and future-focused silhouettes. Fusing Balenciaga’s penchant for broad shoulders and draping with his own love of street culture, the Georgian-born designer reinvented the brand for the social media era.

Gavsalia’s Balenciaga is instilled with an intelligent fearlessness that plays out in both its design ethos and business approach. Through social media and effective logo use (Balenciaga-stamped staples such as caps and T-shirts have made the brand more accessible), Balenciaga has grown to represent a movement—one that questions the very essence of fashion.

Frequently Asked Questions about Balenciaga Hong Kong

Why is Balenciaga so popular?

Demna’s Balenciaga is popular because it appeals to American streetwear culture by reconfiguring historical touchstones and selling the ideas back to its audience. It’s a touch of nostalgia and it’s working with its audience.

Which are the most famous Balenciaga sneakers?

Balenciaga’s two signature sneakers are the hiking boot-like Arena, with D-ring eyelets all the way to the top, and the Pleated High Top, with its telltale horizontal panels on the upper. Both shoes are modern statement pieces and have achieved their cult status via a combination of key celebrity co-signs and the simple fact that they look super modern and cool, which makes them something sneakerheads of all sorts could appreciate. Post-Alexander Wang, Balenciaga has received attention for its low-top, neoprene-infused trainers and mixed-material sneakers too.

How much is Balenciaga?

Of course, the price depends on what sort of products you are looking for, but the ready to wear collection boasts a large range of items available from HK$800 for Balenciaga HK trademark socks, to HK$37,500 for a Balenciaga Biker Jacket, making it safe to say that Balenciaga takes its place as a luxury brand.

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