Artistic director Demna Gvasalia’s new take on Balenciaga is embedded in the architectural history of the couture house. Who would have thought streetwear velcro parkas would become a featuring element Christóbal Balenciaga’s couture heritage? Paris Fashion Week 2016 is the year of surprises, with a director-less Dior, a renamed Vivienne Westwood, a revitalised Comme Des Garçons, and a continuous hype for the collective Vetements. Finally, Demna Gvasalia effectively closed the somewhat murky Wang chapter of the Spanish couture brand, setting up a new aesthetic paradigm from which to work from in many years to come. However, the return of padding, waistlines, volume and construction for the brand is by no means pulled out of thin air – Christóbal, who set standards of couture that only his contemporaries Christian Dior and Coco Chanel could dream of, was the master of silhouette manipulation via construction. We’ve found a few archive pictures to accompany the A/W 16 collection.