Demna Gvasalia’s status in the fashion industry was cemented when it was announced in October 2015 that he would be taking over as artistic director of Balenciaga. François-Henri Pinault, president and chief executive of Kering — parent company to the historic Parisian house — praised the designer as "a powerful emerging force in today's creative world." Gvsalia’s first collection for the brand debuted at Paris Fashion Week in March 2016.
Alongside his creative directorship at Balenciaga, Gvasalia – who studied at Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts – has retained his role as head designer and spokesperson for Vetements, the buzzed-about collective of seven anonymous designers where he made his name after rising through the ranks at Louis Vuitton and Maison Martin Margiela. After just three seasons, the brand was nominated for LVMH’s Young Fashion Designer Prize.
The brand quickly found traction with consumers and the industry alike. It’s couture take on streetwear sensibilities stems, according to Gvasalia, from the brand’s personal focus group: his friends.
In an interview with The Business of Fashion , Gvasalia explained: “We all met and realised how frustrated we were. We started to lose a sense of fun in fashion. We feel it is inevitable and crucial to create contemporary clothing. We are having a dialogue with today.” The collections born out of their project are minimal without being flat, edgy without the gimmicks. “The most important ingredient for us is the reality, what our woman wears to feel good,” the collective told BoF.
In March 2017, it was announced that Gvasalia himself would receive the CFDA’s International Award for his work at both Vetements and Balenciaga.
Later that year it was revealed that Vetements would be leaving Paris, where the brand was founded, for Zurich. Chief executive Guram Gvasalia told BoF that his brother Demna Gvasalia saw the city as a “clean slate”.