Since taking over as Creative Director of Balenciaga in 2015, Demna has worked to reinvent the in-demand brand and usher in a new era. The Georgian designer’s avant-garde creations, as well as the reimaginings of classic pieces by the founder of the luxury fashion house Cristóbal Balenciaga, have provided must-have looks season after season. Her pieces — which range from opulent couture prom dresses to quirky accessories that quickly go viral — are loved by stars from Bella Hadid and Dua Lipa to Kim Kardashian, Beyoncé and Nicole Kidman.
After presenting the latest spring 2023 collection, Demna has a new project in its infancy: the opening of a brand new flagship location at Paradise Plaza in Miami’s ultra-chic Design District.
This huge 8,487 square foot space in the center of the city’s must-see mall is the largest US store to date. It will replace Balenciaga’s original Design District location that debuted in late 2018, while another Balenciaga location at Bal Harbor Shops will continue to attract shoppers on Miami Beach. Spread over two stunning floors, the flagship “features the brand’s experiential ‘Raw Architecture’ concept, in which luxury retail codes are re-evaluated and interiors are designed around existing structural elements,” the brand explained in A press release.
“The concept was designed to challenge the nature of authenticity with design details such as simulated corrosion and rough edges that evoke the passage of time,” the statement continued.
“Thereafter, Balenciaga products – ready towear, shoes, bags, accessories, jewellery, glasses, and objects – within this framework stand in a timeless condition, not associated with a specific condition contingency.” As in many Balenciaga stores globally, the new in Design District will feature specially commissioned works of art.
Inspired by the playful DNA of the brand and Demna’s enfant terrible approaches haute couture, the store — designed by art director Niklas Bildstein Zaar and architect Andrea Faraguna from the Berlin-based on architecture studio SUB – is sharper edge that stuffy. Two backlit Balenciaga signs highlight each floor and are visible through a glass and chrome facade to the plaza outside. Cracked and crumbling concrete blocks, slabs adorned with faded graffiti, and tiled walls covered in synthetic residue add to the ambiance and show shoppers that this is not the typical high fashion experience.
Cables, piping, ventilation systems and light fixtures are left exposed. As a nod to historic Miami architecture, Art Deco flooring is featured, but in Demna’s version it is chipped and chipped. On another floor, a spill of enamel gushes out from under the pews. Throughout the monumental space, patinas on aluminum displays, metal grilles and industrial railings are deployed as finishes, “suspending the space in a state of conditionality”. It all contributes to an unfinished look that’s stylish and purposeful, much like Demna’s couture creations themselves.
Read the Gazette Art Basel 2022 Edition 1 from GRAZIA USA: