Strictly Sensual: Balenciaga at Paris Fashion Week
Balenciaga does it again; sounds like an amazing collection. I would have loved to see this show.
Nicolas Ghesquière inked another page in the history of Balenciaga's revival, and it was brilliant - literally, in its super-shiny fabrics molded into sleek shapes and in its sparkling necklaces and bracelets - and also in its concept.
The chic severity of the silhouette had all Cristóbal Balenciaga's Spanish hauteur and couture complexity, with just a knife slice in the slim skirt for a modern woman to march forward on pointed-toe silver-and-black shoes.
But the shiny surfaces and rubbery latex, used as a hint of perversity on shoes or wrapped around boots, and later in the most extraordinary way for hand-painted samurai armor, added the space-age futurism that has always been part of Ghesquière's oeuvre.
The makeover of Balenciaga is exceptional because of the seamless flow of past and present, often uniting in a single outfit, as when swathes of velvet in turquoise and coral - painterly Velázquez images - partnered the tight, neoprene pants.
"Minimal, very austere, strict but sensual," said Ghesquière, referring to the change from last season's carpet of floral prints on equally sculpted dresses. But for the 2008 winter season, Ghesquière had worked with couture skill to bring simplicity to complexity. The opening black dresses had draped layers at the hips, as if they - and the coats with circular raglan sleeves - were Cristóbal's work from the early 1960s.