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Balenciaga

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FRIENDLY FUTURISM

Paris: When the future is cited as an inspiration in fashion, the default result is a mostly black (or white) palette, angular silhouettes and lots of leather or neoprene. Nicolas Ghesquière’s magic, and what sets him apart from the legions of other future-obsessed designers, is his refreshing optimism and his daring experimentation with unconventional construction techniques and innovative techno fabrics. For Fall, Ghesquière infused the collection with a mid-century innocence; a cheerful palette of mint green, pale blue, peachy pink, and camel was sweet and soothing, but acid yellow, optic white and stark black added an edge. The silhouettes also reflected the by-gone era, with flared capris, straight mini-skirts and prim sweaters, but their construction pushed the limits of advanced fabric technology. Intricate laser cutouts created delicate lace patterns, machine quilting was used for dimensional circular patterns for sweaters and diamond shapes for a metallic pantsuit, and quilted white tops fluttered open in the back, like a windbreaker worn backward. Perhaps a comment on our information-overloaded culture, Ghesquière plastered his finale looks with prints made up of slogans, magazine headlines and bits of product packaging. Save for a slight hiccup here and there (like F/W 09), the designer has been slowly moving Balenciaga into the great beyond, but with his light-handedness and sense of joy, Ghesquière’s version of the future looks like a good place to be.

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