One of the most anticipated shows of Paris Fashion Week, Balenciaga pulled no punches for its Fall 2018 runway exhibition. Creative Director Demna Gvasalia pushed wide silhouettes to the extreme, revealed the brand’s newest must-have chunky sneaker, and subverted gender norms with forward-thinking patterns and textiles.
Accompanying a massive, graffiti-laden skatepark set, the unisex runway featured tailored dresses modeled by women and slim hand-covering turtlenecks for men, both executed in boldly-colored velvet. The show advanced onto layered dresses, hourglass-silhouette outerwear and plenty of eye-grabbing patterns, before showcasing the street-turned-haute gear the brand is currently celebrated for. A shirt emblazoned with a hotline phone number preceded items like sporty multi-pocketed parkas and oversized leather jackets, along with a host of graphic-laden hoodies and waist bags. This shifted to a series of looks that progressed from generous layering to over-encumbered models stalking the runway while wearing a quintet of jackets, a trio of ankle-length coats, or approximately a half-dozen plaid shirts.
Accessories ranged from ski goggle-like glasses to a variety of tote, shoulder and waist bags, all bolstered by bright shades and bold patterns. Of course, all eyes were on Balenciaga’s vaunted footwear, which included more tall heels for women and square-toed derbies for men. The brand’s Speed Trainer and Triple S were nowhere to be found, however — late in the show, a new chunky runner appeared. This techy variant offered contrasting colors and deconstructed paneling, recalling both retro sneaker designs and hiking shoes.
A key takeaway from the presentation was Balenciaga’s philanthropic intent: this collection marks the debut of the brand’s collaboration with the World Food Programme, a charity that seeks to end global hunger by 2030. Each item from Balenciaga Fall 2018 branded with the WFP logo or “Saving Lives, Changing Lives” slogan will benefit the agency in a big way — for instance, purchasing a logo-bearing windbreaker will aid the WFP in providing kitchen sets for 100 families.
Learn more about the donation efforts on Balenciaga’s website and check out the looks above. Keep up with our continuing Fashion Week coverage, which includes recent shows from the likes of Rick Owens and Saint Laurent.