Irish award-winning Haute Couture milliner Philip Treacy was the one behind the masterpieces. His hats have been worn by a large number of personalities, from Grace Jones and the Duchess of Cornwall to Madonna and Lady Gaga. For Balenciaga’s Fall 2021 Couture collection, Philip Treacy created futuristic oval headpieces with a mirror-like finish for a shiny, eye-catching effect.
All hiding the model’s eyes, they challenged both a sense of protection and privacy and a desire for conspicuous, can’t-miss-it drama. They were worn with a large array of looks, chief among them a bright orange, knee-length dress, an oversized yet structured beige trench coat and a boxy black jacket paired with extra-long matching trousers. The designer also complemented total-denim looks with Tracey’s creations, questioning Couture’s new frontier with everyday wear.
Gvasalia kept in mind a young audience and designed a contemporary collection, but also paid tribute to the house’s founder - hats included. Cristóbal Balenciaga’s fashion has always revolved around architectural designs and exaggerated proportions, making him a true visionary and forerunner.
The late designer’s hats actually played a major role in the collections he designed. He balanced volumes and finished off silhouettes with them. At the time, hats were worn on all formal occasions such as dinners and the theatre and Balenciaga made sure his clients had the right one to complete his designs.
Just like Philip Treacy’s nowadays, hats were made bespoke and Balenciaga had two entire workrooms reserved to millinery in his studios. He worked alongside hat designers Wladzio d’Attainville and later on Ramón Esparza to design some of Paris’s most refined headpieces.
Gvasalia included the founder’s love for hats throughout this collection by referencing dramatic structures, playful volumes and unconventional styles. Balenciaga’s chapeau cloche was among his most famous in the 50s and 60s and were worn by celebrities such as Gloria Guinness at the time. Oversized felt hats, pillow-box hats, spiral hats - the styles were endless, but all extravagant and playing with scale, shape and singular fabrics.
And Demna Gvasalia did just that for his debut, celebrating the founder’s everlasting influence on fashion.
All images courtesy of the brand