The genius of Ghesquière's Balenciaga is that he can extrude something so smoothly modern from so many layered references. It hit from the opening looks: molded black dresses with scrolled peplums, slit skirts, and armband sleeves—fifties cocktail catapulted into a fierce kind of twenty-first-century chic.
The clever part is the way Ghesquière melds his own vision—his taste for techno surfaces—with Balenciaga's heritage, often in the same garment—say, the car-shiny dresses cut with a swag back, or the sliced zones of shantung and plastic that are fused into a sack dress. There was much more beyond this, too: on the one hand, crazily elaborate "couture" latex, formed into hand-painted and embossed samurai biker jackets and dresses inspired by chinoiserie screens, and on the other, a few perfectly resolved urban equations for a new kind of evening dressing.
(NB: Cristobal Balenciaga was born in the Basque country, hence the "Spanish" drama.)
The best: the skinny gray pants and Goya-inspired draped velvet and taffeta tops—superb.
Perfection at it's best!