Does fashion ever feel to you like a forced march? It does me and lately the terrain seems more pitted than usual. It used to feel like a field trip to some wondrous place that offered sights and sensations that you'd remember for a long time. Now many of fashion's forays supply little more than an unpleasant aftertaste or at worst a curious black out. Nicholas Ghesquiere's Balenciaga has that voyage to nowhere feel.
Last season was a line up of unappetizing androgynes in an array of hard plastic looking clothes. This season is a collection that plays musical chairs with garish prints better suited to upholstery than to raiment. Ghesquiere's woman is devoid of individuality or femininity. She is simply a vehicle for his constructions. Cumbersome, wooden shapes in wallpaper scaled prints are his idea of modernity. These clothes go a very long way to subvert the idea of beauty. Tunics over trousers under coats is the equivalent of trying to take it with you. One can try, but to what end? If the clothes can be appreciated for their technique that is about as far as I can go. This idea of designers having something other than a woman's interests at heart is a tired argument but one he gives new life to.
A collection with perhaps 2 dresses that say "yes" and a slew of suits and separates that say "not really" is a tough ticket to purchase. What I do like and what consistently shines in this collection are the coats he offers in everything from leather, to felted or double-faced wool and that forbidden material, fur. Considering this pitiless march, at least these girls have a solid coat to gird their otherwise unprotected loins.
In this case, "Any port in a storm...."