Balenciaga Winter 2023: The Art of Making Clothes

Balenciaga returns to basics

Balenciaga Winter 2023: The Art of Making Clothes
Yaseen Dockrat

Spanish luxury house Balenciaga marked a return to the runway, presenting its FW/23 collection. The show was the first since an advertising campaign run by the brand caused a scandal back in 2022.


The issues in 2022 persuaded Creative Director Demna Gvasalia to return to the drawing board and revert to foundational elements of his design vision. Held inside Carrousel de Louvre, Paris’ iconic underground shopping mall amid confused tourists, the show saw Gvasalia’s and Balenciaga’s playful side rising from the ashes of a damaging year. 

Balenciaga goes back to the essence of fashion


Balenciaga’s Winter 23 collection was in many ways a restart for the brand. Eager to keep things simple, and with all eyes on the show, the designer ditched his usual mega set show and chose to focus on the clothing. Gvasalia expressed his love for fashion and clothing and put that in the foreground. “Fashion has become a kind of entertainment, but often that part overshadows the essence of it, which lays in shapes and volumes, silhouettes, the way we create relationships between body and fabric, the way we make shoulder lines and armholes, the way clothes have the ability to change us,” he said.

Tailoring as a main character


Since his appointment as creative director, Gvasalia has had numerous celebrities in front of his shows. The Kardashians became a staple at Balenciaga shows, but now, there wasn’t a celebrity in sight. Instead, showgoers were made up of all sorts of people, no megastars. With that said, the star of the show was the collection, which opened with a double-breasted black suit tailored to perfection. Tailoring was deconstructed and reconstructed, pants featured inverted waists at the hems.

With inflatable forms sewn into their linings, biker jackets, zip-up hoodies, tracksuits, and puffer jackets were reconstituted to transform the body, referencing extreme athletics. Silk gowns were draped and made dramatically asymmetrical and proposed new volumes.


Floral print dresses were crafted from leather and textiles, while leather was also used to craft trench coats. Small-fit sweatsuits came in jersey and were reconfigured to accentuate shoulders to create a pronounced, rounded silhouette. 


Gvasalia evaluated the Huge Bag as well as the Crush Bag and rendered both in soft leather. The Biker Boot was inspired by motocross footwear and featured extreme sports details. 

Gvasalia seeks shelter

Following the scandal, both Balenciaga and its designer had sought shelter. The brand went silent, only responding when necessary. At Balenciaga’s Winter 23 show, Gvasalia was nowhere to be seen, well, he didn’t come out after the show, instead, he spent time chatting to the press. “In the last couple of months, I needed to seek shelter for my love affair with fashion and I instinctively found it in the process of making clothes,” the designer wrote in his show notes. “It reminded me once again of its amazing power to make me feel happy and truly express myself. This is why fashion to me can no longer be seen as entertainment, but rather the art of making clothes.”

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