Balenciaga, AW12, Paris.
Nicolas Ghesquiere has a knack for making his job at Balenciaga look easier than it actually is. After all, it is one thing to moodboard up an innovative concept and sketch up exciting silhouettes every season, and something else all together to make sure that all the tiny details, combinations of fabric and ideas look resolved and polished by the time the garments hit the runway.
In the Autumn-Winter 2012 collection for Balenciaga, we were treated to a gentle blend of influences and references, from neoprene haute couture cocoons to sci-fi transfer black sweatshirts. Part of what helped to resolve all of the elements of the collection was the fact that the details were usually both decorative and highly functional. You get the feeling that no fabric or fastening decision is made in isolation, so all of the elements work to complement and support the overall concept.
There were intricate embroidery designs that were used to create 3D texture that also had a structural impact by stiffening the fabric and enabling the egg shaped sleeves. The subtle reinforced panels that were used in the sleeves of jackets and coats helped to add a sportswear reference without making the garment uncomfortable and unwearable, but still affecting the silhouette of the sleeves. Suspending hem bands from delicate georgette is also no easy feat, and yet with no distracting pulling or seam slippage, you can see that this has been somehow engineered to work.
Ultimately resolving all of these ideas so well allows the viewers to take the clever details and innovation for granted and focus on how they will pull these clothes out of the context of the high concept and make it wearable - without worrying about the clothes disintegrating.
Images from Vogue.co.uk»