Paris defends title as fashion research lab

Thu Sep 29, 2011 3:12pm EDT
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By Astrid Wendlandt

PARIS (Reuters) - Balenciaga on Thursday proved yet again that Paris remained one of the world's most experimental fashion capitals despite efforts by rivals Milan, New York and London to upstage it.

Fashion knows no taboo and for Balenciaga it is all about pushing the boundaries of acceptable combinations of radically different materials and colors in the same outfit.

Nicolas Guesquiere delved into Cristobal Balenciaga's rich heritage of weaved and embroidered fabrics to produce oversized, geometrics-inspired dresses made from a patchwork of organza, polyester, leather, vinyl and other materials.

Wearing felt hats covering their eyes and half the back, models presented an eclectic spring/summer collection whose striking compositions included a bouffant ochre satin blouse on a shimmering half-purple, half-black straight long skirt.

Other original mixes included black and white prints with orange or beige satin tops or poplin prints inspired by medieval cathedrals' stained-glass windows on short vinyl shorts.

Guesquiere awed the star-studded crowd whose front row guests included French actresses Catherine Deneuve, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Chiara Mastroianni.

"His research on materials is amazing," Deneuve told Reuters. "His mix of fabrics is very audacious."

Charlotte Gainsbourg, always present at Balenciaga shows and the face of the brand's first perfume launched last year, said Guesquiere was one of the only fashion designers who did not make any compromises in terms of style.   Continued...