Nicolas Ghesquière — modernist clothier to the working woman? Suchwas the ruse behind the designer’s interesting fall collection forBalenciaga. Ghesquière took his audience to the recently renovated TourCristal, a late-Nineties office tower, a proper backdrop for an ideahe’s been percolating for some several years. “The last tall building[built] in Paris,” he said in a preview. “I had this idea about aBalenciaga firm done in a very cinematic way, with different characterswith different functions, the executives, the technicals, legal, theresearchers, all about how women dress for work.”

Should his vision win out, Wall Street human resources types willbe pushing “send” on the dress code item in the handbook. Basicbanker’s stripes have their place, but not at Ghesquière’s “BalenciagaInc.” Up and down his out-there corporate ladder, which, in addition tothe aforementioned professionals, included renegade spies and rock ’n’roll chicks with an unstated penchant for Red Bull (they stay out allnight and still work just fine all day). The employees favored largevolumes; accentuated, sometimes pointy bosoms; skirts that playpeekaboo; loud logo fleeces; power-diva parachute silk jumpsuits, andcat’s-ear bustier dresses.

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