Balaclavas are having a moment in AW18

19 December 2018

After appearing on the catwalks last February, balaclavas keep on appearing everywhere this season: from the runways to rap music videos.

In this cold winter, fully covering our head became a trend approved from the big names of fashion.

We’ve seen them on the catwalks of Gucci, Lanvin, Versace and many more, and they were featured on the cult rap videos of the last couple of months, but only few know the origins of the balaclava. The garment was invented in 1854, in the occasion of the Crimean War, to repair the soldiers fighting from the cold, to say the least, climate. British women knitted headgear for the fighting soldiers and sent them to Balaclava, Ukraine.

Since 19th century until now, time has gone and the balaclava became one of the key pieces of high altitudes wardrobe and began being used for less ‘legitimate’ purposes (think about Diabolik). What initially was conceived as a strictly practical and protective garment, has become very fashionable today and we see it everywhere: from the catwalks, to rap music videos, to the streets of Milan, London and New York.

Here are our favorite pieces of the season:


The Gucci balaclava becomes a mask covering the face with bright and patterned knits, similar to the ones painted on Kabuki performers, a traditional Japanese dance-drama.

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Calvin Klein

Raf Simmons takes the balaclava afar from its typically dark connotations, creating headgear with big colorful knits, varying from the primary tones of red, yellow and blu, to pastel colors like pink, green and turquoise. Here it is worn by rapper Juice WRLD in his video Realer N Realer.

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For Lanvin, the balaclava gains a refined and elegant aesthetic, completing a smart look in total black.

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Alexander Wang

Alexander Wang’s draws inspiration from the sportswear and ski world. Paired up on the runway with Matrix-style shades, white shirts or tracksuits, it becomes a symbol of power dressing.

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Undercover made its first knit version in 2013, worn by Kanye West at the Margiela show. This year it is proposed in pail fabric, available in different color ways going from bright yellow to deep green and black.

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Marine Serre

The Arab designer Marine Serre came up with several ways to keep your head covered. Her balaclavas are realized with the same lycra fabric of the leggings and great part of her collections. The total black version is followed by two other models featuring a pattern made of half moons, logo of the brand.

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To conclude, the glamour version by Versace, adorned with shiny beads. Here it is worn by FKA Twigs in A$AP Rocky’s video “Fukk Sleep”.

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Text by Enrica Miller


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