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Demna Gvasalia, Balenciaga’s new designer, is Kanye West-approved

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French fashion house Balenciaga has chosen its next designer, the relative unknown Demna Gvasalia, who worked behind the scenes at Maison Martin Margiela and Louis Vuitton before launching his own line of minimal, wearable pieces called Vetements in 2014.

Gvasalia, 34, will present his first collection for Balenciaga in March. He takes over for Alexander Wang, who was the artistic director at Balenciaga from 2013 until Oct. 2, when he presented his last collection during the spring shows at Paris Fashion Week. Wang left Balenciaga to focus on his namesake label, based in New York.

Balenciaga’s new man is a German national of Georgian origin who graduated from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp in Belgium. In terms of underground appeal, he might just outshine Wang. He is also Kanye West-approved.

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Gvasalia’s Vetements collection was launched as a collective, designed by seven people focusing less on fashion’s traditional seasonal trend overhaul and more on refining wearable, everyday pieces. The fall 2015 Vetements show, held at an underground gay club in Paris, featured jeans, T-shirts, flannel shirts, hoodies, bomber jackets and other streetwear staples and attracted an audience that included West and Jared Leto. West gave further support to the label by wearing a black Vetements hoodie all over Paris Fashion Week.

“With his mastery of techniques, his expertise and fashion knowledge, in conjunction with his innovative and carefully considered approach, Demna Gvasalia adopts a unique vision of the designer’s role today and thus recalls Cristobal Balenciaga’s own vision,” Balenciaga President Isabelle Guichot said in a statement.

Spanish designer Cristobal Balenciaga moved his fashion house to Paris in 1937, where he became famous for pushing the envelope with daring new silhouettes such as the cocoon coat, the sack dress and the balloon skirt.

Gvasalia’s designs at Vetements, which is the French word for clothing, are revolutionary in the sense that they are more about blending in than standing out. That democratic, streetwear-inspired approach to the runway makes one wonder if he could take Balenciaga in a more casual direction. We’ll see when he presents his first Balenciaga collection during the women’s wear shows in Paris next season. You know Kanye will be watching.

For more fashion news, follow me @Booth


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