Balenciaga Opens New L.A. Flagship

Balenciaga is bringing its industrial warehouse chic to tony Rodeo Drive.
The Kering-owned brand has moved its L.A. flagship across the street to 338 N. Rodeo Drive, nearly doubling the floor space and introducing a new, two-story, garage-like design in keeping with artistic director Demna Gvasalia’s love of all things gritty.
Balenciaga is looking to the U.S. retail market for growth. The new store follows a Miami Design District flagship that bowed in April, and a Madison Avenue boutique is scheduled to open later this summer in New York.
About 6,000 square feet, the L.A. store was designed by Balenciaga’s in-house team under the creative direction of Gvasalia. The facade looks like it is sliced in half, with an enormous glass window letting the L.A. light in, while reflecting the palm trees lining the shopping street outside. The stone tile on the ground floor is flush with the sidewalk, giving the illusion of a continuous walkway. Inside, garage doors define the space, revealing raw, graffitied walls underneath, while polished metal tables, glowing displays and padded seating evoke a laboratory. Warehouse-style shelving and conveyor rails add to the industrial aesthetic.
Women’s accessories, eyewear, small leather goods, ready-to-wear and footwear are on the ground floor, while

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Raquell Lord Balenciaga to Walk the Runway in Ralph Rucci at ‘L’Hommage’ Event

IT TAKES A VILLAGE: Ralph Rucci is lending his design talents to create pieces for a spring benefit for the LGBTQ communities.
The designer is creating gowns for legends of the ballroom community and fashion runways who will join in a show for “L’Hommage…A Night of Celebration, Unity and Love” on May 11 at Judson Memorial Church in New York.
The cocktail party will benefit FIERCE, which stands for Fabulous Independent Educated Radicals for Community Empowerment, a New York-based organization that mentors LGBTQ individuals. With members in the 10- to 21-year-old age range, the group helps them line up internships and take part in leadership development programs. In New York City, the group organizes grassroots campaigns to combat police harassment and violence and increased access to safe public space for LGBTQ youth.
Aware of the interest in the Eighties-inspired FX show “Pose,” which features the largest LGBTQ recurring cast ever assembled, and eager to help the LGBTQ community, event coordinator Anthony Stropoli said an activist friend directed him and Rucci to FIERCE. The event is a tribute of sorts to the ball culture world.
“Raquell Lord Balenciaga” will be hitting the catwalk in New York for the first time in more than 10 years.

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Balenciaga, Farfetch Partner on Exclusive Capsule Championing Species Conservation

CALL OF THE WILD: Balenciaga and Farfetch are teaming for an exclusive capsule collection for women, men and kids, which is championing species conservation. The limited edition is leather, fur and down-free and will launch globally on Tuesday.
José Neves, founder, co-chairman and chief executive officer at Farfetch, said the appeal of the collaboration lies in the opportunity of providing customers with one-off products: “At Farfetch, Balenciaga is extremely popular with our global customers, so we are thrilled to launch this new capsule collection in collaboration with the brand, consisting of exclusive pieces that cannot be found anywhere else. We think the collection will delight people who are existing fans of the brand, as well as capturing the imagination of new fans as well.”
The partnership will offer Farfetch shoppers a chance to score new styles in exclusive colorways and materials as well as a selection of products that feature illustrations of endangered animals such as the Northern White Rhinoceros, the Blue whale and the Giant Panda.
The capsule, which will launch with a dedicated online campaign, hopes to inspire customers to raise awareness for species conservation and support IUCN, the International Union for Nature Conservation.

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Balenciaga Opens Flagship on Milan’s Via Montenapoleone

Bare industrial interiors contrast with wildly colorful fabric furnishings in Balenciaga’s new flagship in Milan, opening on Friday.
The two-level store on Via Montenapoleone comes with industrial lights, exposed pipes, cables and conveyor rails, in line with the warehouse-inspired concept unveiled at its Paris flagship on Rue Saint-Honoré last year.
Selling women’s and men’s collections, it sits near Buccellati, Baldinini and Swatch, and opposite Alberta Ferretti and Malo. French luxury conglomerate Kering, which owns Balenciaga, operates several stores on the luxury thoroughfare, including Gucci and Pomellato.
The ground floor features a gray logo-embossed carpet, aluminum walls and glass display cases for accessories, creating a range of tonal variations on gray. On the first floor, a carpet by artist Cayetano Ferrer, featuring repurposed prints from closed American casinos, provides an unexpected burst of color.
Though the store might present an almost uniform appearance, the brand noted that each wall and shelving unit is different, creating textural depth.
Creative director Demna Gvasalia has championed a lo-fi aesthetic at the brand, including an e-commerce site featuring a bare-bones menu inspired by an Excel spreadsheet.
The French luxury house will open a store at 610-620 Madison Avenue in spring 2019. The 7,300-square-foot store includes the space that until relatively recently

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Balenciaga Apologizes to Chinese Customers for Fight at Printemps

BEIJING — A video clip of a violent scuffle involving several Balenciaga customers at Printemps in Paris has prompted an apology from the brand, after it fielded accusations that it discriminated against Chinese shoppers.
According to the user who uploaded the video, the fight broke out when French shoppers attempted to enter, bypassing a line of Chinese customers waiting for their turn. 
“Boycott Balenciaga discriminating against Chinese. Really angry, queuing up and yet get hit by the people cutting in line. From now on, buy Chinese Li Ning [the sportswear brand],” the video caption read, adding that Balenciaga would not be able to sell its shoes if Chinese consumers stopped buying them. 
The brand apologized in a statement on Thursday saying, “The house of Balenciaga regrets the incident that took place yesterday morning at a department store in Paris while customers were waiting to enter its corner shop. The security staff acted immediately to restore the calm. Balenciaga sincerely apologizes to the customers who were present and reaffirms its strong commitment to respect equally all its customers.” 
One witness wrote on WeChat that every day she lined up to buy Balenciaga sneakers, and on a daily basis French-Albanian shoppers cut in front but she always held her

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Balenciaga Shows First Men’s Pre-Collection

GIMME MORE: Having decided to go coed starting in March, Balenciaga was one of the notable absentees on this week’s Paris men’s wear runways.
The label made up for it with the presentation of its first pre-collection for men at its showroom, where a row of giant screens showed models walking in variations of the oversize man-on-the-street clothes that creative director Demna Gvasalia showed for spring, merged with the hybrid garments he designed for women.
“The two-way conversation between the ordinary and the extraordinary, between fashion and utility, emphasizes the Balenciaga priority of putting choice in the hands of the personality of the wearer,” the house said in a statement.
Shirts and T-shirts were fused together to be worn two ways, as in a fluorescent green T-shirt twinned with a brown-and-blue checked shirt. (And let’s face it, who doesn’t like two for the price of one?)
Patchwork was another central theme of the collection, from the tone-on-tone burgundy leather pants to a zipped top in bands of contrasting fleece and jersey fabrics.
Gvasalia updated his trademark down jacket with bold rugby stripes, cinching the bulky outerwear with nylon fanny packs that promise to become as coveted as the brand’s Triple S sneaker.

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Balenciaga Brings Copy Shop Concept to Dover Street Market

DO IT YOURSELF: Balenciaga is bringing its copy shop concept to London’s Dover Street Market.
The personalized T-shirt printing service, first unveiled during its takeover of Paris concept store Colette last summer, will be installed in the store from Nov. 30 to Dec. 17, the brand said.
Touch screens will allow customers to create their own designs, using a selection of Balenciaga logos and graphics, to be printed instantly. The T-shirts will be available in black, white, gray and red, in two sizes for men and women, and will feature the mention “Balenciaga Do It Yourself Ts” on the back.
The project is an offshoot of Balenciaga creative director Demna Gvasalia’s men’s wear show for fall exploring the corporate world, with items including sweatshirts bearing the slogan of the brand’s parent company Kering.
To mark the inauguration of the copy shop on Nov. 30, Balenciaga will offer an exclusive colorway of its Triple S sneaker in all Dover Street Market stores worldwide. The London installation will also feature a sculpture by Mark Jenkins and video screens.

The Balenciaga Triple S sneaker exclusive to Dover Street Market. 
Courtesy

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Balenciaga to Open First-Floor Brand Takeovers at Colette

GUEST HOUSE: Balenciaga recently revamped its Rue Saint-Honoré store, a few doors down the same Paris street from Colette. Now Balenciaga is kicking off a series of monthlong brand takeovers of the first floor of the landmark concept store.
For its guest slot — scheduled to run June 19 to Aug. 5, with a custom-made design under the artistic direction of its creative director Demna Gvasalia — Balenciaga is to present its men’s fall collection, an exclusive women’s collection and limited-edition products specially designed for the event. Other surprises are in store, according to Colette, with the Kering-owned brand also due to stage an artistic installation in the floor’s gallery space. Only the store’s Beauty Box space will remain unchanged.
Gvasalia, whose design ethos is based around “enhancing, underlining and re-presenting that which already exists in a new light,” in March unveiled a new design concept for Balenciaga’s Rue Saint-Honoré flagship based on a clothing warehouse, with industrial conveyor rails similar to those in the brand’s production headquarters in Italy, ceilings covered in aluminum foil, and long, aluminum tables for accessories.
Following in Balenciaga’s footsteps, meanwhile, will be Les Vacances de Lucien, offering a selection of designs from brands represented by Paris-based Lucien Pagès’ namesake public relations agency, which will take over the space from

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Balenciaga RTW Fall 2017

You’ve got to admire Demna Gvasalia. For all his stated philosophy of fashion pragmatism, beginning each collection with a list of essential, must-include wardrobe items, he is genuinely experimental, unafraid to realize and run with audacious ideas. In a short time, that approach has garnered him a great deal of attention, some amusing Internet memes and a reputation as perhaps the coolest designer on the planet right now.
For fall at Balenciaga, Gvasalia again displayed that sense of bravado, his collection packed with twists, turns and grand gestures made with a deliberate street attitude. According to the show notes, these were inspired by the house photo archives, “this unseen record of the poses of [Cristóbal] Balenciaga’s house models as they clutch fabric and strike couture attitudes.”
Looking at those pictures, Gvasalia delivered a raw take on haute motifs, opening the show with a bold coat-and-dress series. One side of each coat was pulled way over and fastened on the opposite shoulder (the actual cut rather than a styling trick), apparently to give the look of a swath of fabric thrown over a model’s shoulder in an unguarded moment. In fact, sans crib sheet, that reference was, shall we say, arcane, the look resonating

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Balenciaga Fires Model Casting Agency After Mistreatment Claims

Balenciaga and Lanvin reacted swiftly today to claims by U.S. casting director James Scully that models were being abused during castings for Paris Fashion Week. Scully made the allegations in an Instagram post, which set off a firestorm on Monday that had everyone from LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s Antoine Arnault to model Joan Smalls chiming in.
“I was very disturbed to hear from a number of girls this morning that yesterday at the Balenciaga casting Madia & Ramy (serial abusers) held a casting in which they made over 150 girls wait in a stairwell, told them they would have to stay over 3 hours to be seen and not to leave,” said Scully in the lengthy social media posting. “In their usual fashion they shut the door, went to lunch and turned off the lights, to the stairs leaving every girl with only the lights of their phones to see. Not only was this sadistic and cruel it was dangerous and left more than a few of the girls I spoke with traumatized. Most of the girls have asked to have their options for Balenciaga cancelled as well as Hermès and Elie Saab who they also cast for because they refuse to

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The Curious Timing of Balenciaga Pre-Fall 2016

About a week ago, an invitation to see Balenciaga’s pre-fall 2016 collection began to hit inboxes. In WWD’s office, more than one editor’s initial reaction was “Resort? Already?” Nope. Pre-fall, as in the season that precedes the fall collection that was widely publicized in Paris over a month ago. That would make this pre-fall post-fall in a way, but now we’re just being confusing.
That’s because it’s nothing if not confusing. WWD asked Balenciaga to clarify the meaning of this oddball timing. Long-lead press and other outlets, including WWD, that have agreed to hold off on publishing a review of the pre-fall collection until May, when the house is ready to release images of the clothes, can view the collection Tuesday at the Balenciaga showroom in New York. Is this part of a strategy akin to what The Row and Proenza Schouler and even Madewell, have adopted, withholding images until the clothes are ready to hit at retail? Did Demna Gvasalia design the collection? Will this impact the way Balenciaga shows pre-collections, including resort, which is but a month or two away?
Balenciaga president and chief executive officer Isabelle Guichot told WWD via email that the timing of this particular pre-fall is a one-time thing. “When

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Mytheresa.com, Balenciaga Team on Fashion Film

BALENCIAGA ACT: Mytheresa.com has teamed with Balenciaga to poke fun at the glamour, exaggeration — and irony — endemic in the industry with a short film to be released on Sunday.
“Une Incroyable Excuse,” is a two-minute short featuring three young French Ladies Who Lunch, and the shocking discovery one of them makes when she opens her handbag to look for her car keys. The short, written and directed by Danny Sangra and filmed on location at Caviar Kaspia in Paris, is the e-tailer’s first fashion film project. The film makes its debut on Showstudio.com on Sunday, and will be posted later in the week on the Mytheresa.com Web site.
The three main characters wear exclusive looks from the Balenciaga fall runway collection, which are available to buy on Mytheresa.com.
Justin O’Shea, the site’s buying director, said one of his favorite movie lines is “Why so serious?” spoken by Heath Ledger’s Joker character in “The Dark Knight,” and he wanted to create something with a sense of humor. “The line has probably never been referenced in a fashion quote,” said O’Shea.
He added: “The idea of this industry being fun is something I feel strongly about, and that was the starting point behind the

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The 10 Best Looks From Alexander Wang’s Last Collection for Balenciaga (Plus, Zoe Kravitz on the Runway)

The moment has come. Earlier this evening Alexander Wang took his last bow at Balenciaga as the house’s creative director. Wang’s final show was one of the most anticipated collections of the Paris Fashion Week spring 2016 season. But instead of going out with fireworks, the California-born Wang sent out a quietly exquisite collection of all-white clothes, set to a ’90s rap soundtrack of Notorious B.I.G.’s Going Back to Cali and Snoop Dogg’s Nuthin but a G Thang. The soundtrack alluded to his departure from Paris with this last Balenciaga show and that it’s back to the States for the New York-based designer.

While the collection was feminine and diaphanous from afar, a closer look will show you that subtle touches of Wang’s street style aesthetic are everywhere. Overalls in silk duchesse, flat mules in Chantilly lace, and drop crotch pants were interspersed between the siren gowns, for which the esteemed house of Balenciaga is known. Last, but certainly not least, Wang’s friend and supporter Zoe Kravitz took to the runway in a transparent lace dress in support of Wang’s big show.

And, in a touching final moment, the vivacious Wang took his biannual jaunt down the runway, skipping, running, twirling and taking selfies during a long and emotional bow. Here are our favorite looks from the collection:

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A day dress with bra details.

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Zoe Kravitz in an embroidered tank dress.

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A ’40s boudoir look.

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A utility jumpsuit in silk duchesse.

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A pair of silky overalls.

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A midi dress with cutouts.

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A siren gown with lingerie details.

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An evening gown with a fanny pack worn as a sling.

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A work jacket and flowing trousers

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A cami and boxy pinstripe trousers.

balenciaga-spring-2016-alex-wang-bow Wang taking his bow.

No word on who’s taking Wang’s place at Balenciaga, but we’ll surely keep you posted as the decision is announced. For more Fashion Week coverage see what our phenomenal correspondent has to report:



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