Balenciaga is a brand that needs no introduction. The fashion giant’s long-awaited store has just arrived in Sydney to much fanfare.
The new home of Balenciaga’s coveted clothing and accessories is Australia’s second store – the first is situated in the fashion capital of Melbourne. Gracing the fourth floor of Westfield Sydney, the marque joins the ranks of the world-renowned fashion houses residing in the shopping complex.
Earlier this year, the brand had already dipped its toes in the water with a pop up at Westfield, amping up anticipation for the real thing. The miniscule shop intrigued customers, with its entrance cordoned off by a velvet rope and manned by a burly security guard.
Now the wait is over. Designed by none other than Demna Gvasalia, the brand’s creative director, the store in itself is an artwork. It’s all sleek lines and modern shapes, decked out in plush sky-blue carpet. The room is divided up by moveable velvet partitions on rails.
In classic Balenciaga fashion, the iconic logo is stamped in repeated motifs all over the room, from the wall dividers to the carpet. Besides the brightly-hued carpet, neutral shades of cream, grey and white dominate the space.
To celebrate the opening, Balenciaga has released a limited run of bags. Run, don’t walk to get your hands on the Sydney Shopping Bag – they’ll be snapped up fast. It’s a simple white leather tote with black handles, printed with ‘Balenciaga Sydney’.
The expansion has cemented Balenciaga’s place as one of the world’s most prestigious luxury brands. It also marks Westfield Sydney’s move to increase its luxury offerings; the shopping centre netted $1.25 billion in sales last year and is welcoming ever more illustrious tenants.
Balenciaga was established in Spain in 1919 by Basque-born Cristóbal Balenciaga, the famed couturier whose innovative designs rocked the fashion world. His distinctive silhouettes and minimalistic pieces earned high praise from contemporaries like Christian Dior, who regarded him as the master of the art, and Hubert de Givenchy.
The designer pioneered trends such as balloon dresses and sack dresses, and was known for his precision and awe-inspiring creativity.
The fashion house is now owned by French fashion conglomerate Kering, which helms a gamut of luxury brands from Gucci to Yves Saint Laurent. Balenciaga continues its founder’s legacy with minimalistic designs updated for the modern fashionista. Find logo-adorned bags in colourful renditions, jackets cut in daring shapes and trend-setting sandals.
The brand continues to push the limits of fashion, including 2017’s controversial platform Crocs, which were equally loved and hated. The sky-high foam shoes inevitably sold out; a plain version set eager buyers back USD 450, while a pair decorated with colourful charms came with a USD 850 price tag.
By Jennifer Luu