Saturday, October 1, 2011

Stand Up and Deliver

              from L-R: Hamish Bowles, Anna Wintour, Grace Coddington, Charlotte Gainsbourg,
Salma Hayek, Francoise Henri-Pinault, Catherine Deneuve and Isabelle Huppert
(photo: twitter via WWD)

How many fashion designers have enough balls to force the likes of Catherine Deneuve, Anna Wintour, Carine Roitfeld and Francois Henri-Pinault to stand throughout an entire catwalk show in the history of Paris fashion week?  
But on Thursday that all changed when Nicolas Ghesquiere, creative director of the critically acclaimed fashion house that is Balenciaga, had no choice but to make his guests stand after the black plastic benches people were sitting on cracked and collapsed, sending some fashion editors and buyers crashing to the floor. How very ironic, since the entire collection is about 'weightlessness'. Broken benches aside, guests had very little to complain about after seeing the entire Balenciaga S/S 2012 collection parade down the runway. As always, Ghesquiere never fails to impress and always exceeds people's expectations. He is always mindful of Balenciaga's heritage and is never scared to dig-up the archives and update pieces without being accused of being too reverential. His collection does not bear similarities to anything we've seen down the runway during Paris Fashion Week this season (if you've been following it, that is). It almost always never does. So even if the benches hadn't broken, guests would have stood up anyway and given Ghesquiere a standing ovation for, once again, delivering a well-made, highly- wearable collection.
“I don’t know if oversize is the right term for that type of construction,” he said. “But this famous, and for me, a very functional, concept of Cristobal is the idea of the space between the body and the fabric. The clothes float away from the body. It’s one of the big iconic things of Balenciaga. The fluidity of floating is beautiful, but it is something else. An architectural piece floating around the body is very structural. I think it’s something that Balenciaga invented.”

 The original Balenciaga hat with exaggerated downward-sloping brim circa 1967