>> The same heart-shaped motif from Versace showed up at Balenciaga — but treated in a whole different way. Nicholas Ghesquiere continued his ode to futurism with shrink-wrapped tops, strapped-in dresses, shiny structured jackets, and even a little surprise in the form of menswear, which was added for promotional purposes. Most intriguing in this show about absorbing and reflecting light were the shoes — or the non-shoes, rather — tights pulled over platform soles; Instead of introducing a new round of "it" shoes like the Balenciaga runway usually does, Nicholas turned the attention to bags, showing them on the runway for the first time: "The collection is a bit out there, so I wanted to bring it down to something women would really wear."
>> Is Nicholas Ghesquiere getting starstruck? For the second season in a row, he's chosen to go celebrity: Jennifer Connelly for Spring, and now Charlotte Gainsbourg for Fall.
Granted, both women embody the Ghesquiere girl — Charlotte is well-known to be his muse, and Jennifer a good friend — but to hear him describe the reasoning behind his choice is striking, considering that he has built Balenciaga to be a true blue fashion-for-the-sake-of-fashion label, rather than a fashion label devoted to upping its star wattage. Behold, he sounds smitten with actresses:
They are used to playing characters and go deeper into the image. There's definitely a celebrity effect when you shoot an actress. There's a real frisson.
The Spring 2009 campaign cast will tell us all — three makes a trend. Until then, enjoy the first look at the Fall 2008 Balenciaga campaign, shot by David Sims and featuring an archly posed Charlotte Gainsbourg, with the new Balenciaga store in LA forming the backdrop.
>> Rather than giving us a hint of what's to come for Spring 2009 like most designers do with their resort collections, Nicholas Ghesquiere reworked his hard-edged Fall 2008 Balenciaga collection, softening the ideas up with pale pastels. The result is similar, but not the same as Fall, and stays true to the sculptural shapes that have come to define Nicholas at Balenciaga.
For a few more pictures of the collection, go here.
>> We covered most of the highlights from Monday's night CFDA Awards yesterday, but today come the videos shown to the audience.
First up? The Mike Figgis-directed tribute video to Style.com's executive fashion director Candy Pratts Price, which contains such gems as Kate Moss, dubbed over with a man's voice, saying (what I assume is a quote from Candy): "You haven't got a Birkin, oh my god, you have to have one, we're going straight back to Hermes now." Also, Anna Wintour, describing Candy: "She is a fashion character . . . a fashion . . . nista." A word which I never imagined to come out of Anna's mouth, but it does, and she simultaneously twirls her fingers for emphasis:
Then, the Douglas Keeve-directed spoof of HBO's In Treatment, which was used to introduce the Menswear Designer of the Year nominees — Tom Ford, Thom Browne, and Michael Bastian. Only Tom Ford's clip is to be found, but Tom sobs, sips a martini, and vents to therapist Gabriel Byrne with all the gusto you would expect from Tom Ford. It's like a peek at the Hollywood Tom Ford, when he left fashion to direct films, which never really happened . . .
Nicholas Ghesquiere caved to the celebrity draw for Spring, choosing Jennifer Connelly to front his floral-filled Balenciaga ad campaign.
Although you all weren't fans of the result, Mr. Ghesquiere must have seen something he liked because now rumors are swirling that he's tapped French actress, Balenciaga muse, and Parisian-chic style icon Charlotte Gainsbourg to appear in his Fall campaign. Do you think she would be a good choice?
I think her off-kilter beauty is a fine match for the house. But you may recall his Fall collection was pretty severe, I don't know if seemingly shy Charlotte can pull it off. We'll have to wait and see!
Structure, rubber, and slits: That's what Balenciaga Fall 2008 is made of.
Although the collection had continuity from previous seasons — cocoon-shaped jackets, cropped fitted pants, and greyscale color — surprises still abounded. Pearl-encrusted and rhinestone costume jewelry draped around necklines and wrists, deconstructed velvet bandage tops popped in primary colors, and hand-painted warrior armor closed the show.
But oh, the shoes! Silver on black pointy toe heels, white booties with sheer latex fluttering off the back and stilted square lucite heels all stole my heart.
This collection is definitely a more pared-down group than Nicholas Ghesquiere has sent down the runway in the past, but that's not to say that it doesn't deserve less attention . . .
To see more Balenciaga, read more
If you're looking for an affordable collection with some serious fashion pedigree — bulls eye.
Designed with the help of Marie-Amelie Sauve, muse to Balenciaga designer Nicolas Ghesquiere and fashion director of Vogue Paris, the newly in-stores Spring collection is full of nonchalantly chic tunic tops, shirtdresses, and baggy denim shorts.
Best of all, prices run $20-$70, with the exception of a cropped leather jacket ($358), so definitely check it out. After looking at this, I can't wait until Gap's other forthcoming European collaboration — shoes crafted by French designer Pierre Hardy — comes through the pipes.
To see more from the Spring Gap European Collection, read more