Saturday, March 7, 2009

paris autumn/winter 2009 - balenciaga

nicholas ghesquiere has never been a revivalist. while he helms one of the most revered houses in the world with a history that involves revolutionizing the modern women's wardrobe, ghesquiere never takes the balenciaga ideals literally. instead he has managed to adapt balenciaga's legacy and philosophy into a modern vocabulary that while hints at the past, is stoically moving into the future. the way he can reference the great master's work and infuse it with his own sci-fi/futuristic sensibility has been one of the most influential factors in contemporary fashion. making him one of fashion's north star that other designers use as a compass to look for direction. for his latest collection ghesquiere again used the house's archives as the beginning of his story. particularly balenciaga's use of draping. although balenciaga's work is synonymous with architectural forms, him being one of the most proficient couturiers in history was also superb with the art of draping. after so many season witnessing ghesquiere push the atelier's tailoring techniques to its limit, this season he presented his softest, most feminine collection yet. to witness this versatility done in the most sophisticated way and still retain the ghesquiere identity is a testament that this heir apparent of paris fashion is a venerable well of ideas that shows no signs of drying out. and while it is balenciaga that ghesquiere always goes back to, this season he also paid tribute to another designer who asides from chanel, has had as much impact on modern fashion as balenciaga himself, yves saint laurent. there were echoes of saint laurent's rive gauche chic with the ruched, diaphanous printed chiffon dresses, the rich colours, and the play of masculine and feminine best demonstrated by the pairing of grey wool trousers with a floral top and a lace bandeau worn undereath. it had saint laurent's sexually subversive touches that was able to combine something feminine and sexual without being vulgar. this collection also had something many of ghesquiere's runway presentation never really had. while they were all rich with ideas, its commerciality was not its strongest point. everything that came out of this collection was understandable, sellable, profitable, and most importantly, beautiful.


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