Considering Nicholas Ghesquiere's (pronunciation : Knee-ko-lah
Now you try it.)
astounding coronation 12 years ago when he took up the scepter and Orb as Directoire Creatif of Balenciaga, (pronunciation: bah-Lawn-see-Ya-ga
), (for fun let's try another. Lanvin is really Lawn-van
...the last N is semi-silent) Fun, non?
When he took the wheel his first collections were homages to
the master with faithful adaptations of original styles from the
archives. They were a bit arch without the fluidity, loft and movement of the
originals, in large part due to a possible lack of understanding of how fabrics must be left to
lead, not forced to comply. Still, they were interesting in
their newness to many eyes uninformed and unexposed to the originals. I'm sure Hubert
de Givenchy (pronunciation: you-Bare De Zhee-von-Shee
) twisted on his Louis Quinze (Loo-ee Cans
) settee reading about or watching the proceedings.
Still the ever elusive DNA of the house was respected; the "codes"adhered to and all was well in the jungle. Then the inspirations of the Directoire
bubbled to the surface setting off a DNA storm. One such burst of creativity was the appropriation of Koos van den Akker's collage vest
that appeared on the runway much to the chagrin of those who knew who and
what that was, creating a frisson of questions and doubts. For the following 12 years the house and its codes teetered off into space like a scene from "Gravity". Some people are just happier in space.
The clothes became harder and more self-conscious by the season. New"man-made" high tech fabrics appeared and all the talk became about the march towards modernity with
Nicholas leading the charge, metal yardstick in hand and hordes of
lemmings in his wake. Editors from here, there and wherever. Only one successful IT bag came
from his tenure and a few truckloads of clothes that were increasingly more
difficult to wear or grasp though liberally copied by many in the marketplace. Fashion at Balenciaga became a thing so
precious, its siren song so
high pitched that only dogs could hear it. Then the party stopped. Finis! (pronunciation: Fee-knee)
forward to Marc Jacobs's exit from Louis Vuitton and enter Nicholas to the relief of
all the major fashion mags, assorted hangers-on and every Intern
(definition: Slave. Granted, minus whip marks and shackles. At least not obvious ones.) worth his weight in Starbucks
coffee filled trays. Word next to the 3-D printer is that he's the
The anthem that opens
the show was so ironic. "Copy Cat", a cheeky drone of a
tune frighteningly apt:
"OOO Copy Cat...You're my puppet...sit on my lap as I work, Baby Girl... I'm such a fan of this dress, I bought it 5 years ago" and on and on." That summed up much of what marched through a labyrinth of a place; stuff from 5 years ago."
The clothes were almost all an homage to Nicholas's glory days at Chez B. Hard, stiff leather a-line skirts zippered down the front, a
billion of them cut the same with an added pocket, a printed fabric instead of
leather at times plus or minus a single bold pocket. Lots of turtleneck sweaters and sweater vests tucked in, a white one with a wide lace band crossing the sleeves and body, the same shoe over and
over paired with quilted little bags or rectangular metal mini-cases.
The coats and jackets in leather, bonded leather, patch worked leather, leather with the look of signature Courrege, especially a zippered knee-length black crocodile coat, slick and tough looked really right. Baby doll empire cut dresses appeared along with some regrettable softer ones that looked like he hadn't a clue what they should say or do. Booties with criss-cross straps and thorn heels (Roger Vivier-isms by way of Walter Steiger-isms) completed the look. Leather and cloth high-waisted trousers looked sexy with their stiff zippered polo sweaters including a smart tan top were wrapped and tucked in. They were hot looks, like a taste of something great but then the waiter takes away the dish you've only just begun to savor.
The problem for me was that it wasn't a new message but the same one just moved down the street from one house to the next. He plans to create a "total look" for LV as though one doesn't already exist. Marc Jacobs did a fine job of it, especially in the last 3 or 4 years. It wasn't broken, but now its showing signs of fractures. There were only 50 looks but it felt like hundreds with an audience of thousands looking kinda bored. But, hey, its the second coming so maybe I'm just blinded by so much divine light. You decide.
*images courtesy Style.com *Video courtesy Fatalefashion *Layout courtesy of Garnet