Balenciaga's A/W 21 haute couture collection was one for the history books. As the first couture collection by the house in 53 years (following Cristóbal Balenciaga's departure from the fashion industry), it was unlikely creative director Demna Gvasalia was going to stick to convention. In the cream-coloured couture salon 10 Avenue George V in Paris, models wafted by in silence wearing larger-than-life hats, exaggerated coats and Batman-esque sunglasses – this was couture for the 21st century, eccentric and outlandish to the nth degree. 'Couture is above trends, fashion, and industrial dressmaking,' wrote Gvasalia at the time. 'It is a timeless and pure expression of craft and the architecture of silhouette that gives a wearer the strongest notion of elegance and sophistication.'
Now, 30 looks from Balenciaga’s 50th couture collection are on show at Chinese arts venue TANK Shanghai. The space has been given a thorough makeover, becoming a 'couture salon, a showroom, a grand hall, and a banquet room' for viewings, fittings, tours and performances. To fit with the aesthetic of Balenciaga's recently restored historic couture salon and atelier in Paris where the show first took place, TANK Shanghai has been transformed into a plush, pale, kaleidoscopic space in beige hues. To put it plainly, you would not want to spill a drink in here. The lavish installation continues the trend of fashion living on through exhibitions and cultural events – and is indicative of China's burgeoning luxury fashion market.