There is more genius to Gvasalia than his internet-breaking platform crocs.

The Crocs

Your worst fears might have come true at Sunday’s Balenciaga SS18 show. To the saturated sounds of a menacing soundtrack, Demna Gvasalia sent Crocs – that “family-friendly” shoe you thought you’d never see again post the late 00s – down the runway. Christopher Kane already brought the ugly clogs back last spring, but the Spanish fashion empire upgraded them with pins of avocados and French bulldogs. And a 10cm platform. Many rolled their eyes, but who knows, this might be the only pair of Crocs you’ll ever wear. And so, as often with Gvasalia and his Vetements clique, bad taste turned chic. Amid a fashion week crowd obsessed with party wear, Demna presented his version of the elegant woman: long shapeless dresses, big earrings and fluorescent platform crocs. Take note.

Fake News

Is Gvasalia trolling us all? It might appear so, especially after the brand dropped an Ikea bag worth over $2000. And yet, if you take a closer look, the designer’s creations might be more than just provocative. Newspaper, cash money and “screen saver” prints were an humorous nod to our times. No doubt the Georgian designer pushed us to think twice before buying what we see. Just as the news wasn’t news, the coats weren’t really coats. Hanging off models’ bodies from their necks, they looked like they were covering the wearers’ arms from the front, but they were really just tacked onto garments. From cheesy landscapes printed on trousers to unlikely layering, Balenciaga’s SS18 collection was a work of trickery.

Demna Takes Over

With this collection, Gvasalia furthered the social experiment he began in 2015, when taking over the role of creative director at the nearly 100-year-old fashion house. Cutting his teeth at Maison Margiela and Louis Vuitton, Demna’s work always drips with irony. No other designer seems to be in tune with the ethos of our internet era like he is. A sense of humour permeates the entire SS18 collection through the details: Eiffel tower charm belts, motorcycle tail boxes turned handbags, dollar bills from head to toes, second-skin sock boots included. Littered with pop cultural references, Balenciaga SS18 seems far from the sculpted noble image of the Spanish couturier. “I wanted it to be more Demna, less Cristóbal this time” the designer confessed to Vogue backstage.

Clara Hernanz