Balenciaga opens industrial flagship uptown
Stepping into Balenciaga’s new Upper East Side store feels more like walking into a warehouse than the archetypal uptown emporium. Artistic director Demna Gvaslia designed the shop, featuring three statues in collaboration with artist Mark Jenkins. Two mannequins are tied together through the house’s designs, inviting clients to Demna’s world, where streetwear and high culture meet. From Vetement’s heavily-memed take on corporate banality to Balenciaga’s multi-collaborative SS17 runway show, the designer has never been one to play by the industry rules. Clearly, it’s a formula that works; last weekend he announced removing Vetements from the fashion calendar, Monday evening he received the CFDA’s International Award, and now, he’s toasting his first American flagship on 840 Madison Ave.
The stark white space was inspired by the interiors of the brand’s production headquarters, a discernible juxtaposition to the rich gilded interiors of the lower Manhattan boutiques. This store ushers in the new Balenciaga – literally – with its logo-laden carpet that’s sure to flood your Insta-feed. The textured concrete and glass location abounds with industrial elements like aluminum tables, silicone curtains and ‘warehouse’ conveyor rails. The boutique will house women’s and men’s collections alongside its highly-coveted accessories. From the man who turned a Hanes tee into a luxury item, Balenciaga’s new home takes Demna’s subversive vision to new heights.