Thursday, March 4, 2010

Balenciaga takes us back...To the Future

Sometimes I look at a collection, and I honestly don't know what to think. So many words come to mind, but none really work together in the way my mind would traditionally group them, so I stare, puzzled.

Such was the case with Balenciaga. At the top of Paris fashion week Nicolas Ghesquiere's Balenciaga was futuristic, industrial, basic, unadorned, yet decadent, modern, and altogether pretty unwearable. So you can imagine my confusion in where do I begin a review? Well, I think we can start by saying, Ghesquiere is doing what Ghesquiere does, and that is challenging our thoughts and beliefs about what belongs where and how. He's taken us on a journey to the moon with this collection, and quite frankly my head is still spinning.

There were winged astronaught jackets that made it look like the models might literally take flight from the runway. There were leather skirts and tops perforated with starbursts, which I found reminiscent of a doiley, and about which Ghesquiere exclaimed, "like french buscuits!". There were platform shoes in minty shades of crocodile, with wooden heels, all encased in the kind of thick plastic, one would normally see wrapped around a cell phone. There was suede, there was leather, there was fur...there was matte, there was shine, and thats just in one jacket! In typical Ghesquiere fashion it was all pretty stiff looking; The contrast of strong structure, soft shape he's always done so well. These are not the kind of clothes you want to curl up in, but with Balenciaga they never are. 
Ghuesquiere's cosmonauts

I thought's Sarah Mower wrapped it up well when she said, "...Some might call him out on the issue of wearability in certain areas, but fashion desperately needs experimenting talents like his to push things forward". So I won't attempt to put this unconventional designer into a conventional box, and attempt to categorically explain this collection. I can't. And even if I could it wouldn't be right. So I'll just say that I agree with what Ms. Mower had to say, and I appreciate Nicholas Ghesquiere's ability to create something from nothing. By nothing I mean his extraordinary imagination, but without any seeming reference to current trends or the collections of his peers. But more than that I have a beyond-words admiration for the fact that he is willing to continually invent something new and interesting and always different, even if it doesn't get the Barney's buyers all hot and bothered.
Geometric/futuristic, but in a classic, almost traditional shoe. Great colors.

That may not sound like a big feat, but in a world where there is insurmountable pressure for designers to produce something, not only, interesting, and creatively groundbreaking- but also, sellable, and wearable, while steadily driving that bottom line higher, Nicolas Ghesquiere is something of a renogade.

He creates things of beauty, uncoventional and maybe sometimes unwearable, but he's one of the few designers who is consistently standing on the edge, and pushing forward ever so slightly, pushing the edge, pushing the edge. And perhaps not to challenge our beliefs, but to stay true to his own. I agree with Sarah, so what if everything isn't wearable? He's one of few designers who are setting the stage within which everyone else is acting.
There's like 5 textures going on in this jacket
I love the illusion the astro zip up suit creates (r) and the graphic geo print (l), the bright colors and writing remind me of Andy Warhols pop art, but made futuristic instead of modern.
I love how delicate this looks, even though its actually leather with astrics punctured by a machine, it looks dainty and hand made. I love the contradiction of tough and sweet-and what it says about the woman wearing it- that she can be both.
Balenciaga gives you Wiiingszz!!!

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