Balenciaga: Haute Warriors

At the latest women's ready-to-wear collection from Balenciaga, unveiled Thursday, Oct. 1, in Paris, the mood was futuristic, though with clothes that somehow seem pulled out of the earth.

Excellent leather mini skirts in colors that recalled transactional photos of the earth's crust, woolen cocktail dresses in marble hues and leather pants that recalled Amazonian plants gave the collection an organically earthy feel.

This was a highly decorative collection, cut with a stark symmetry, where the contrast between hard colors like blood oranges or painterly reds with soft grays, white woven leather and plastic tops was elegant and very new.

Though strikingly inventive, the collection did reference a lot of the ideas that Balenciaga's creative director Nicolas Ghesquiere first began developing half a decade ago.

"I wanted to go back to the graphic ideas that are part of Balenciaga," said Ghesquiere backstage. "It's true that I was trying something similar three or four years ago, but this time a little softer."

A faint sense of the prehistoric also wafted through the show, from the reptilian teeth shaped baubles used on bracelets to animal skin platform shoes and black eye shadow smeared back to the hairline.

Staged in the gilded opulence of the Crillon Hotel, the show opened with a series of hooded tops, though the leather used did look a bit hot for a summer soiree. But the sheer panache of the tops construction - cut off at the armpit, made with flared hips and finished with arcane straps made them all look great.

The designer also showed snazzy men's dress shirts, largely transparent except for a cotton pique breastplate, a look that will likely be highly influential.

And Ghesquiere sent out a sensational collection of shoes - zigzag patterned high-heels with slim conical heels and earth-crust, laced mini platforms that will be bestsellers.


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