Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Spring Trends // Balenciaga Redux

The true taste makers and originals in fashion can be counted on one hand: Prada, Lagerfeld, Jacobs, Elbaz, Ghesquière. Monsieur Nicolas at Balenciaga has seen many of his ideas remade for Spring, starting in New York and popping up in Milan.
Here are a few images from the Fall Balenciaga collection. Remember the riffing on sculptural design, black dresses to the knee, futuristic shines, shifts and sheathes, rounded shoulders, and narrow graphic trousers?
In New York, girly American dressmaker Cynthia Rowley took a break from fun Spring colors to experiment with black and geometry. The sheerness and layering make it airy, and a sheath is a CR staple, so the Balenciaga-ness felt new, unforced and true to the designer.
Oscar de la Renta toyed with black as well, mixing it with some color and white, kept lengths to the knee, employed slits, sculptural cuts around the neck, and piping to add shape, so it felt very Balenciaga (a plus) but not very new (redux gone bad).
Narciso Rodriguez is a master of construction and molding fabric. Who knows if Rodriguez echoes Balenciaga intentionally, but the lengths and roundness of things suggested it.
The house of Gianfranco Ferré, with a new design team in place, pleased everyone this Spring with an outstanding parade of great dresses, interesting volumes and - dare we - dazzle that editors are already clamoring for. Expect these invigorated looks to get great editorial exposure.

With everyone always wondering who inspires who, and how designers create trends as if they feed from a collective consciousness, here's a comparison of a Balenciaga evening look and a Grecian gown by legendary French couturier Madame Grès:

The pulling and wrap of the fabric, the statue-like drapery towards and across the hip: both Grès trademarks. Even the best enfants terribles dole out un bisous or two when they're due.

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