Uncertain about the future? Well, Nicolas Ghesquière isn’t. Would that the Bailout Brigade in Washington could chart a course toward his turf, a futuristic encampment that doesn’t know from indecision or lack of liquidity, but pulses with women who radiate bravado, confidence and tons of money.
Ghesquière is a designer of atypical range, an artiste-cum-technician who diversifies his very specific vision of how women should look with painstaking attention to technology as well as design. And, if in the Balenciaga collection he showed on Tuesday the resulting mood rang a bit more familiar than spring’s glamour fest, the clothes were still fabulous and the fabrics, remarkable. Spring’s conceit was a study of light and how it changes a viewer’s perspective, a motif intensified by an overhead lighting installation that changed color as the models walked. This created constant motion, one foil-looking dress projecting pink schoolgirl sweetness at one end of the runway, and fiery space vixen at the other.
The clothes were characteristically articulated, precisely constructed and now worn over sheer bodysuits that veiled the arms and legs, including the hands and shoes (take that, all you sole copyists out there): little nude dresses, each with a big heart inset on its bodice for a soupçon of robotic romance; pants in double-faced mackintosh rubber cloth, seams and facings turned this way and that for bicolor curiosity; round-shouldered, reflective jackets. Throughout, Ghesquière’s fascination with light manifested differently. Sculpted suits that aped padded organza were in fact stiff jersey. Dresses crafted from tier upon tier of crinkled ribbon stamped with high-shine metallic film worked the charming side of armored chic. And gorgeous sequined tubes maintained the dazzle but took the future-chic motif down a notch.
Jewelry? Nary a bauble; that was last season. This time, Ghesquière accessorized with what will no doubt become one of spring’s wait list obsessions, that is, if anyone can afford them: small, square clutches in lizard and croc, their clasps, flat-cut semiprecious stones. Talk about out of this world.