As Nicholas Ghesquiere continues to grow Balenciaga after reviving it, his designs- lego-like stilettos, pants like fashionable riding trousers paired with blouson-tops, printed scuba-gearlike wear, mini dresses structured like oversized corsets, the iconic motorcycle bag, and others- remain visionary; the kind of products, with its commercial success, to leave a legacy. This pioneering spirit was seen in the Fall Winter 2012 show. Sleek and polish-chic gave way to a stylish 60s-ish version of the future, which for Fall Winter 2012, said the designer in an interview, focuses on individuality more than ever.
The models were a cast of an office where Balenciaga-brand silhouettes and sheer dresses were the chiffre for the day. Some jackets and sweaters had the padded and stiff but cushiony upper bodies which the brand has popularised, with long sleeves wider at the elbow and tapering inward on the upper arm and wrists. Textured prints and funky patterns, one of which was a blue on pink zebra, added to the show’s romp, and thus lightness- always needed in an office environment. The zebra print on dresses showed a graphic interplay of fabric cut at a slight curve and then layered onto chiffon on the skirt.
Balenciaga is one brand that can could make geek chic truly hip: sweaters with sci-fi-ish prints on them, with those large sleeves, were cut above the waist. They were paired with relaxed pants with a garterised waist, and you couldn’t help but think you’d marvel at any real nerd would wear this ‘‘tribe’’ stuff; it was certainly faddish. And then there were the square-shouldered leather and wool coats, which felt instantly like classic pieces of clothing, if not to become Balenciaga icons. But then who’s to known what Ghesquiere’s visions can bring about-- he’s made Balenciaga both fashion-forward and commercially viable.
The show was inside a skyscraper and in the modernish, space-age interiors, the collection had a surreal, Howard-Roark-vibe- it was, no doubt, high fashion.
-Ria de Borja