WHOEVER claimed you couldn’t teach old dogs new tricks needs to read on. Balenciaga – an almost century-old label – has announced it will do something it’s never done before … and for the fashion industry, it’s a new trick many will be dying to see.

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It’s being reported today that – having previously only showed its menswear collections by appointment, the storied French maison has announced it would include a menswear runway during Paris Menswear Week Spring/Summer 2017.

The move comes less than a year after Demna Gvasalia took the reigns at the house as artistic director following Alexander Wang’s departure. His first runway show for Balenciaga was only just held in March for the women’s ready-to-wear showcase in Paris.

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Who is Demna Gvasalia?

The 34 year-old German national of Georgian origin graduated from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of Antwerp. He launched his first collection at Tokyo Fashion Week in 2007. In 2009 he joined Maison Margiela, where he was responsible for women’s collections until 2013. Following a stint as senior designer of women’s ready-to-wear collections at Louis Vuitton he launched his own label, VETEMENTS, presenting his first women’s ready-to-wear collection at Paris Fashion Week in 2014.

At the time of his appointment to Balenciaga, its CEO Isabelle Guichot described him as the “best choice” for the new artistic direction of the house.

“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,” she said at the time.

“I am confident that he will succeed in embracing Balenciaga’s core values and developing them in harmony with today’s global changes.”

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François-Henri Pinault, president and CEO of Kering (which owns the label), described him as a “powerful emerging force in today’s creative world”.

“Demna Gvasalia embodies a unique approach to the profession, marked by a sociological observation of the wardrobe’s essentials and the way he remains humble and rigorous in his creative work,” he said.

“I am convinced that he will lead Balenciaga to a successful future.”

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A successful future which pushes Balenciaga’s former boundaries by the looks of it.

We’ll be tracking Gvasalia’s time with the luxury label in the lead-up to its menswear debut in Paris. So stay tuned to us.

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