Balenciaga: Who doesn’t want to impress the boss — especially if he’s rumored to have concerns about your commercial savvy? It’s difficult to imagine Robert Polet being anything other than thrilled with the captivating —and clearly consumer-friendly — collection that Nicolas Ghesquière showed on Tuesday morning. Ghesquière is among fashion’s true inventors, an intense and deliberate craftsman.

When he talks shop, he’s likely to focus on cut and proportion rather than on his inspirational reverie du jour, this season the Arcadia, a pirate spaceship from an Eighties cartoon. And increasingly, he invokes the name of the house founder with surety. “The bridge is growing. I feel more comfortable now working with the archives of Cristobal Balenciaga,” Ghesquière said the evening before his show. “The real clothes — not just the image.”

To best reveal his focus on shape, Ghesquière worked in black, white, gray and navy, done up with enough brass buttons to suit the River City Boys Band, though the likeness ended at the buttonholes. With volume swooshing its way to Trendville in the early going in Paris, he delivered it at its best and most modern by far. He took the deb-dress template to grown-up sophistication with a trio made from subtle fabric mixes and cinched in croc. And who would imagine that that traditional fashion fright, the between-the-legs dress, could look something other than awful? Ghesquière made it sensational, in multifabric “turban” shapes that twisted, turned, folded and looped every which way, allowing for graceful movement — and perhaps just a bit of that arrrgh swagger. He also introduced naughty-girl slip dresses that “have linings for production.” (Duly noted, Nicolas.)

As for the jacket-and-slouchy-pants combos with their souped-up cuts and gold galore in buttons and braids, one girl’s pirate is another’s admiral. But whether marauder or military, the clothes radiated refinement, high chic — and high invention — from one of the most intriguing designers out there.

Yohji Yamamoto: An invitation printed with lace prettily veiling a suggestive, yet hazily feminine, Peter Lindbergh photo set expectations for Yohji Yamamoto’s spring show. Would he, could he, deliver the romantic blockbuster his stalwart fans have been hoping for during the past few seasons? While it didn’t have the heart-stopping, adventuresome grandeur of some of his best collections, Yamamoto hinted toward a move in that direction. He’s still got a way to go, but the designer wisely steered clear of the athletic, street-inspired collections he’s been showing since his own romance with Adidas heated up a few years ago. Instead, he veered into abstract territory and revisited some of his favorite themes — asymmetry, layering and suits.

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