Over the past few seasons, we've witnessed Demna Gvasalia dial things back with his designs for Balenciaga. First, he showed a hugely wearable Fall 2018 collection, filled with oversized parkas, party-ready mini-dresses and hourglass-shaped outerwear. By Spring 2019, Gvasalia doubled down, offering sharp suiting, sculptural evening gowns and a small mix of denim pieces to balance everything out. On Sunday during Paris Fashion Week, the designer presented a whopping 109 looks for Fall 2019 — he's done with pre-collections — that are hyper-focused on tailoring, statement coats and clothes we actually, really want to wear.
While previous Balenciaga shows presented the latest collections alongside spectacle-like setups, such as a tube-shaped runway or a graffiti-adorned, fake-snow-covered mountain, this season's venue featured only a freshly laid (and strongly scented) asphalt floor with some flickering lights and techno music. All the more reason to pay attention to the models, who walked mere inches from the audience. There's something for everyone in this collection: strong-shouldered suit jackets, roomy straight-leg denim, printed frock dresses, cozy two-piece sets made from lush knits or soft velvet and Gvasalia's staple items like track pants, hoodies and T-shirts.
The strongest pieces, however, paid homage to Cristóbal Balenciaga's legacy while still being modern and fashion-forward (in other words, Gvasalia's specialty, as he's proven). Shoppers will likely spend big bucks on the French house's outerwear this fall, from shearling or fur-collared, leather wrap jackets and neon-colored wool coats to more practical hooded parkas and floor-length puffers. More experimental dressers will be drawn to the collection's exaggerated, manipulated silhouettes, such as a slew of garments that slightly fold up in the back, as if the wearer never bothered to fix their clothing after a long day spent sitting against a wall. And flat photo imagery won't do the outfits that boasted a hula-hoop-like effect around the neck any justice — you'll just have scour social media for a better, more intriguing view.
Of course, a Balenciaga collection wouldn't be complete without a touch of Gvasalia's sense of humor and irony. Come fall, expect to see avid fans of the designer toting around branded water-bottle bags or "I ❤ Paris" merch. And if you're wondering why, out of all of the 100-plus looks that graced the runway, not one sneaker was in sight, it's because they were reportedly being carried around in the models' logo-covered shopping bags.
See every look from the Balenciaga Fall 2019 collection in the gallery below.