The Balenciaga fashion house opened its doors for the very first time in August 1937, in Paris. Though the designer had already shown an undeniable talent for tailoring in the past, it wasn't until the end of WWII, and the year 1951, that he would burst onto the fashion scene. Over the next decade, he made his name as designer of the century, presenting the balloon sleeve, the empire waistline and kimono coats, all of which are still revisited today.
In 1968, the company closed its doors, four years before the death of Cristobal Balenciaga.
It wasn't until 1986 when Jacques Bogart SA acquired the company that history would resume, with a first collection by Michel Goma presented in 1987. He was succeeded by Josephus Thimister in the role of artistic director, but the breakthrough came with Nicolas Ghesquière, who took the brand's creative reins in 1997. He stayed until 2012, when Alexander Wang took the helm for a brief three-year period.
Since 2015, Demna Gvasalia, who is also artistic director and founder of the "Vetements" brand has been presiding as artistic director of the Balenciaga fashion house.
Demna Gvasalia was born on 25 March 1981 in Georgia. At a very young age, he and his family fled the civil war and eventually settled in Tbilisi, where he pursued his studies and obtained a degree in international economics in 2001. After a brief stint in Dusseldorf, Germany, the future fashion designer decided to head to Antwerp, where he entered the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, graduating with a Master's degree in Fashion Design in 2006.
After a period at Maison Margiela, followed by Louis Vuitton, he created the Vetements label in 2014 with his younger brother, Guram. Success wasn't far behind, and in November 2015, Kering made him the new artistic director of the Balenciaga brand.
Well-known in the profession, in December 2016 Demna Gvasalia received the prize for International Ready-to-Wear Designer at the British Fashion Awards, before taking the title of International Designer of the Year at the CFDA Fashion Awards in June 2017.