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jeremydante's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2009
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this. is. Fashion.

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Breaking News at Balenciaga


PARIS — When a fashion show starts with the benches’ collapsing on a high-tech marquetry floor, forcing star guests like Catherine Deneuve and Salma Hayek to stand, you might expect the ultimate flop — or an enforced standing ovation.

But there was other breaking news at the Balenciaga show on Thursday: The clothes were some of the most approachable and wearable the designer Nicolas Ghesquière has yet created.
Overt references to Cristóbal Balenciaga came in the stand-away tailoring and in a vivid stained glass window pattern of Spanish religious figures. The sculpted hats of Mr. Balenciaga’s fisherman father also suggested haute couture’s golden age.
Yet the designer, who came out mouthing “sorry” to his fallen guests, was also true to his own 21st-century culture. It is just that the Neoprene-style jackets standing away from the body were actually made of silk. And the denim pants were precision-tailored with a twist of pleats on a high waist and one strategically planted pocket. They will surely be a red-hot item for the 2012 summer season.
“It’s a labyrinth — I wanted to do marquetry, precious wood and metal, something warmer with the geometry,” Mr. Ghesquière said backstage to explain the graphic effects of the square jackets or a dress cut like two point-to-point triangles. Even when the designer softened up with calf-length dresses, he made an effort (not always achieved) to make them seem modern.
Mr. Ghesquière also explained what he took from the master, including that religious pattern found on a 1960s head scarf. As for the fatally wobbly benches — they also expressed Balenciaga’s geometry in this well-judged show. And the standing audience looked noble rather than harassed, like worshipers in church at the altar of Balenciaga.

Balenciaga: Breaking Away


Seeing editors tumble to the floor as benches collapsed at Balenciaga this morning was probably not a good way to introduce a collection that was essentially about weightlessness.

After several plastic benches cracked or gave way entirely, the show proceeded in a churchlike mode, with the audience standing as the models breezed past in wing-shaped heels. What may not have been clear from the boxy, broad-shouldered jackets in geometric patterns of topaz, garnet and quartz silk was just how airy and light they were. Nicolas Ghesquiere paired them with blousy track shorts in grainy silks that floated away from the body. This season he scraped off the technical effects; most of the fabrics were silk or cotton, though they might have had the appearance of a novel synthetic. There was stiff ottoman, and fabric embroidered to look like ottoman.

Overall, the collection had more street vitality than in recent seasons, with cool-looking jeans that are black in back or, alternatively, knit in the front with tough work-wear khaki in the back. Indeed, there was a strong utilitarian element in details like a patch khaki pocket on a top, or draped white cotton shirts (they looked and felt like parachute silk) or a new interpretation of Balenciaga’s classic fisherman’s smock. Mr. Ghesquiere has included a sports element in many of his Balenciaga collections, so the track shorts were not a total surprise.

Far more interesting was how he continues to imagine historical Balenciaga in a contemporary context, whether it’s a T-shirt in an archive print that evokes cathedral stained glass or in the volume of a gold silk dress with a zippered black leather waistband. I loved the series of black and white print dresses that closed the show. The shapes had a slight kimono feel, anchored with a wide band of khaki. There’s nothing else like them on the runways, and they’re not complicated or solemn.

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Not feelin' it yet, especially the Darth Vader hats.

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It's amusing seeing all these names standing around -


Standing room only at Balenciaga as front row benches break

Quelle horreur - the fashion pack were forced to stand as a series of benches collapsed at one Paris Fashion Week's hottest shows.

BY Lisa Armstrong 29 September 2011

Not since a chunk of New York ceiling crashed onto Suzy Menkes, The International Herald Tribune's august fashion editor at the Michael Kors show back in 1992 has the audience had the remotest excuse for demanding danger money. But after 19 long, arid years, today's Balenciaga show on the Rue Cassette gave us a chance to prove our mettle.

Balenciaga, may I remind you, is one of the hottest shows of the entire month. It has everything, terrifyingly snotty PRs who make you feel as worthy of admission as a dog turd, obsessively, compulsively shiny floors willing you to break your neck and stupendously uncomfortable, crowded benches.

Oh and amazing, not-sure-what-I'm-looking-at-but-it's-incredible clothes, courtesy of the mighty talented Nicolas Ghesquière.

Today however, the snotty PRs outdid themselves in the sheeny-shiny floor and back-destroying bench department. The first sign that they had over-reached themselves came when one bench upended, sending its entire cargo, including - sacré bleu - former Vogue Paris editor-in-chief Carine Roitfeld. Oh the indignity.

But then a second and third bench went for a burton.

Cue unseemly sized beads of sweat on snotty PR brows. Catherine Deneuve, a woman not known for being a great lover of practical jokes, looked on frostily from her front row perch. Salma Hayek, whose father-in-law Francois Pinault owns Balenciaga, winced - one of her ankles was already in plaster. A decree was issued: for health and safety we would all have to stand for the duration of the show. In our heels. Deneuve glowered rebelliously but eventually stood. As did we all.

Which is why I can't tell you a thing about the show, since the head PR had seated me in the second row - my last review must have offended. I couldn't see a sausage. I had an unimpeded view of the back of Deneuve's hair however. It's very bouncy - she must never get it cut. And I feel like a survivor. War correspondents have 'Nam, Srebrenica and Baghdad. I have Rue Cassette, 2011.

ROBBER - Get down on the ground. Face down. C'mon. CHER - Oh, no. You don't understand, this is an Alaïa.
ROBBER - An a-what-a?
CHER - It's like a totally important designer.
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Anna had a pillow talk with Grace at the show, she liked it? LOL.

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Does anyone have HQ's from of the Details? The shoes are amazing! And the fabrics in detail are so interesting.

Also, are they back to showing where they originally did? The set design looks amazing! Its obviously not the Hotel de Crillon. Is it somewhere new?

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Originally Posted by helmut.newton View Post
Also, are they back to showing where they originally did? The set design looks amazing! Its obviously not the Hotel de Crillon. Is it somewhere new?
It's their space in 15, rue Cassette where they were showing their collections until S/S 09 and then used as a showroom during the Hôtel de Crillon era. I'm so glad to see them back at the venue as well!

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its ok. its probly the most wearable collection nicolas has made in years. however, not crazy about the shoes. one thing i always love in a balenciaga collection is the shoes but i guess its a give and take. shoes or clothes. i miss the days when it was both.

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Most-wearable... is that a joke? I feel it's one of the least-wearable Balenciaga collections in recent memory.


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Lisa Armstrong cracks me up!
The collection does not.
HORRIBLE is an understatement. Are the other journalists paid hush money or what??
The pant pleats were the only interesting thing and Armani created those in the early 80's...
Pieces by themselves, maybe. As a vision, bleh. Those lumpy dresses (with lumpy blazers) could only hold some irony for inner city hipsters.

The wisest men follow their own direction.... Euripides
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How the hell is this the most wearable Balenciaga collection ever created? Are the critics on crack? Spring 05, Fall 05, Spring 07, Fall 07, Fall 08, even Spring 11, were all more wearable than this. Critics would say anything to support the designers they love even if it's sh-t.

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This collection is a disgrace for the human body. Some silhouettes look like costumes, not clothes like he used to do. Wearing one of those outfits make you look like ... 10 kilos more ?

Some small details are very beautiful, the fabrics also. The shoes are awful with their Finsk-a-like heels. I'm not a fan of the prints also.

Ghesquière was translating Cristobal's archives in such a modern and sexy way before. I miss this talented mix of past/future.Remember the robot leggings ? The lego shoes ? Those iconic items that made this label desirable and special. . .

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I love me some Balenciaga day and night, but THIS i cannot accept. I understand that GHESQUIERE is about the futurism theme, but there comes a time where you are so deep into that it become incomprehensible as we have seen here. Just because you reference some past pieces and mix it with some futuristic fabric doesn't make it wearable for TODAY.

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Originally Posted by GivenchyHomme View Post
It took me a while to warm up to F/W11 and I expect the same from this as I feel indifferent to this collection at the moment.

The hats seem to be modified version of this archival piece:

Actually yes but really it's a reference to the hats worn by Spanish fisherman in the town where Cristobal Balenciaga grew up. Cristobal also used something similar in his collection so it's a direct reference to vintage Balenciaga.

In terms of wearability, I think the collection overall is his most wearable yet. You could take many of these pieces straight from the runway with little to no modification and wear them out. Plus all the structured jackets you're seeing are not even padded like the usual collections, they've used a silk hybrid that maintains the desired structure while being light as a feather.

Very happy with the collection! Love all the references to archival Balenciaga with a futuristic twist to them. And, while it may seem to some that Nicolas does not know the female form, I do believe you must commend him on his efforts to stay true to Cristobal's aesthetic and for maintaining, updating and reinventing classic silhouettes that made the house famous in the first place.

Balenciaga Wedding Dress / Hat [via art vs. fashion]


Last edited by 2Nova; 17-10-2011 at 10:58 AM.
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