Nicolas Ghesquiere doesn’t believe in repetition. After a ladylike and decidedly classic turn for Fall, Ghesquiere brings us back to the future with his Spring collection (Balenciaga S/S 09 Slideshow). Playing with silhouette and diametrically opposed textures he crafts a unique and well edited collection of modern pieces. From the start we are introduced to an intriguing cast of decidedly sci-fi inspired characters. There are the fabric draped androids with glitter leggings and molded breastplates, neo-Blade Runners in gilded rubberized biker jackets and of course the sequin clad electronic vixens of the finale.
Balenciaga under the direction of Ghesquire has always succeed in pushing the boundaries of what constitutes refinement. While there is an cybernetic theme to this collection the concept of futurism as a mix of metallic silvers and synthetic materials is not a particularly modern conceit. Artists/writers/filmmakers/designers have long depicted these telltale textile elements as hallmarks of new millennium chic but now that we exist in the haloed future and its realities such ideas can seem overly familiar.
It is he nuanced way in which Ghesquire adapts these concepts that saves him the dregs of repetition. The collection may lean heavily on sci-fi but there are touches of humanism. The soft fabric that crisscrosses around the harder edged elements like a cocoon creates a beautiful effect. While the curious shoe/stockings with their truly odd sneaker meets toe socks vibe keeps the ball rolling on inventiveness. The play of textures within the collection is perhaps the most glaringly evident motif – beginning with the matte faded rose of Natalia Vodianova’s opening ensemble and ending with the vivid technicolor sheen of Magdalena Frackowiak’s glittering disco ball sequin dress Ghesquire moves swiftly between extremes.