Surpassing the mighty sartorial names Gucci, Dior, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Givenchy and more, the LYST Index Q3 report for 2021 has reported the Demna Gvasalia led brand is the peak haute couture brand in luxury fashion today.
The Parisian fashion stable was imposed at the helm by LYST after the metrics suggest it has been the most tracked name in luxury fashion in 2021 on search Engines.
How this happened
Firstly, Balenciaga’s first haute couture collection after a 53-year absence (last show was in 1968) created a major buzz as the suspense from the fashion world and spectators were eager to learn what their first collection after a lengthy abscond from high fashion would look and feel like.
In an interview, the fashion house’s creative director Demna had this to say of the historic moment of the brand returning back to the runway.
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“Balenciaga is one of these houses where you have big shoes to fill in terms of couture. I was very scared at the beginning. That’s why I didn’t touch it for five years” said Demna, who replaced Alexander Wang as Creative Director in 2015.
Demna has largely been in the ready-to-wear wing of things in the last decade. His Vetements brand that he departed from in 2019 revived the puffer jacket trend in 2015 and remains a hit till today. From 2013 t0 2015, he redefined ready-to-wear commodities for women during his time at Louis Vuitton.
The return to couture for Balenciaga shocked the world as their elegant ball gowns, disruptive gender-fluid coats that resemble bathrobes, “ugly models” as Demna refers to them as (the cat's normal people instead of models), and oversized precise coats as well as croc sandal boots were the major take-aways from their July return.
Fashion critics and the online world were polarized discussing the collections, but it struck a chord, and that was exactly what they needed as a brand – conversation.
“If I was going to make men’s couture, I wanted them to suffer a little bit” he said of the fluid unisexual nature of the puffer coats especially.
Secondly, Demna was the brains behind rapper Kanye West’s Donda Live performance at the Mercedes Benz Arena in Atlanta. Demna is the reason Ye is wearing masks and remaining mute throughout his album roll-out, barely doing interviews and only literally making fashion statements.
Kanye is not new to mask trends. He has been at it even before the pandemic hit, as he famously toured the majority part of 2013 and 14 in Maison Margiela masks as a performative ritual to promote his then studio album, Yeezus.
Demna orchestrated the entire stage production and design for Ye’s Donda shows in Atlanta and Chicago. He also designed and directed the merchandise that made Ye Sh700 Million in one night.
Thirdly, the Simpson promotion video of Balenciaga has created multiple memes, which are short acute ways of communicating messages through digital media. This sparked more conversation as Simpsons is one of the oldest, and most beloved television shows, and to partner with Balenciaga gave the brand more edge, humor, and reliability even to those who could barely afford the exclusivity and exorbitance of the Kering owned fashion house.
To show Demna still has his finger on the pulse of the culture, he teamed up with metaverse and electronic game giant Fortnite to dress players’ users and this immersed the brand into different facets of pop culture that are superlatively relevant today.
Fourthly, despite Gucci celebrating 100 years, Bottega Veneta running fashion airwaves, Virgil Abloh’s Louis Vuitton brilliant innovation and productive placement, the star power of Kim Kardashian West will always thwart any attempt to overshadow what she is involved with in popular culture.
The reality star strutted in what Vogue called one of the most polarizing looks in fashion red carpet events during the 2021 Met Gala. Her obscure all-black look had fashion blogs and media confused and this brought the Parisian label to the fore of fashion ranks once again.
LYST’s list had Gucci in first place in Q2 of 2021, Dior in third, Prada and LV in fourth and fifth respectively.