Balenciaga to return to Haute Couture
Considered one of the great masters of Haute Couture, Spanish designer Cristóbal Balenciaga founded the house that still bears his name in 1917. Now owned by French luxury group Kering, the fashion brand has decided to return to Paris Haute Couture Week, 52 years after its masterful founder stepped away from the event.
This return to the Spanish maison's roots will take place next July, under the leadership of the brand's current creative director Demna Gvasalia.
"Haute Couture is the very foundation of this House," said the Georgian designer in an official statement published by Kering on Monday, 20 January. "So it is my creative and visionary duty to bring Couture back to Balenciaga. For me, Couture is an unexplored mode of creative freedom and a platform for innovation. It not only offers another spectrum of possibilities in dressmaking, it also brings the modern vision of Balenciaga back to its sources of origin" added the creative director, who stepped down from his role as designer at Vetements in September of last year.
"Couture is above trends. It’s an expression of beauty on the highest aesthetic and qualitative levels," he concluded.
"It’s an honor to bring back the Haute Couture to the House, highlighting the heritage of Cristóbal Balenciaga," commented Cédric Charbit, Balenciaga's CEO since November 2016. "This project was possible due to the success of the creative vision of Demna Gvasalia as well as the exceptional results of Balenciaga these past few years," continued the executive.
In 2018, Kering reported revenues of 13.7 billion euros, boosted by a strong performance at Balenciaga, whose sales are still, nonetheless, far from matching those of the stars in the portfolio of the group owned by François-Henri Pinault. Gucci, for example, has seen astronomical growth, with revenues totalling 8.3 billion euros, while Saint Laurent has also posted solid improvements and now boasts annual revenues of 1.7 billion euros.
"Establishing a dedicated team and atelier replicating the original salons at the historical address 10 Avenue George V represents a strategic step in further expansions," added Charbit, referring to the location where Balenciaga set up his brand when he moved it to Paris in 1937.
"Coming back to the Haute Couture that was left off by Cristóbal Balenciaga in 1968 links the House’s past, present, and future," concluded the brand's CEO.
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