Balenciaga designer asks you to call her Demna


Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images

On Wednesday, Balenciaga revealed that its Creative Director, Demna Gvasalia, has decided to make a personal change. No, he’s not leaving the mark. Do not worry. But he leaves a part of himself. “Now Demna only uses her first name, distinguishing an artist title from a birth name and therefore separating creative work from personal life”, reads an “IMPORTANT NOTE” in the notes of the fall show 2022 of the brand. “In all the press going forward, he chooses to simply be called Demna.”

Good then ! He is not the first fashion designer to wear only his first name. Valentino Garavani, for example, is often referred to simply as Valentino. Kenzo Takada went through Kenzo. (Cristóbal Balenciaga himself was also better known by his last name.) But their names were also their marks, so it was arguably natural for them to become one and the same. Gvasalia – sorry, Demna – may be the first fashion designer to actively request let the press call it something different.

It could be a practical decision. A lot of people in the industry call her Demna anyway, maybe because they don’t know how to pronounce her last name. (His deem-nah vas-ah-liyah.) But his reasoning – “separating creative work from personal life” – is also consistent with his recent production. He attended the Met Gala with Kim Kardashian West wearing a Spring 2022 look that covered her face, and many assumed he was her (ex?) husband. (Kanye West, who collaborated with Demna on his recent Donda tour, also decided to cover up her face and legally changed her name to Ye in October. way to brazenly knock his pseudo pop icon image. Her fall 2022 collection, released today, is an embodiment of the idea that less can be more.

Few designers working today are more in tune with the mechanics of popular culture than Demna. It’s fair to assume that he knows that by making this request he is entering the conversation with people like Madonna and Prince and Beyoncé and Zendaya – and that maybe all of that is being a bit of a stretch. We also know he has a good sense of humor. So I’m going to take this news with a wink and a nod and be happy that cultivating a work-life balance is literally the coolest thing you can do right now.


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