Balenciaga SS18 - Available in-store at END.

The evolution of normcore

Since his appointment to the house in 2015, taking the reigns from Alexander Wang, Demna Gvasalia's presence as Creative Director at Balenciaga has indisputably been felt most strongly through the label's menswear collections. Partly because Gvasalia introduced the label's menswear offering in 2016, leaving the waters of this category completely unmuddied by a slew of creative predecessors, and partly because you need only look at Demna's own flourishing label Vetements to see that Gvasalia understands how to perfectly balance contemporary culture references with high-brow design.

Returning to END. for SS18, Balenciaga delivers the follow up to AW17's exploration of the corporate man. Where last season's focus lay primarily on the nine-to-five uniforms which shaped our parents' generation, this season investigates the same man's weekend wardrobe.

As 'Generation Internet' settles into maturity, we're witnessing a seismic shift in societal presentations of professional and personal identities, and an unequivocal rejection of corporate-drone culture. With each person the star of their own Instagram feed, it's no surprise that a generation who grew up perfecting the art of self-expression on a roller-coaster of social media platforms feel suitably self-possessed to refute the banality of business-dress conformity. Masterfully tapping into this international shift in ideology, Demna Gvasalia proffers his meditation on the corporate man; one part swan song, one part sociological exploration of the peaks and troughs of our Dads' generation and their lot in life.

Dripping in the post-modern, millennial irony which has come to dominate the design conversation in luxury streetwear over the past few seasons, Balenciaga's new collection is as self-aware and self-assured as the customers it's aimed at.

Balenciaga SS18 is now available in store at END.

writerEuan Smart