Paris A/W'12 - Balenciaga and Nina Ricci

Balenciaga and Nina Ricci were fun shows because they both had little stories behind them, and when each look came out you could imagine the woman who was wearing the clothes and how she had put them together.

Balenciaga's collection was a whole office of women, dressing according to their department and status. They ran the whole gamut from interns to CEOs, and boy do I hope that actual business women wear these clothes. Of course since it was Balenciaga it was all futuristic and shiny, even the model's hair and faces seemed to glow. It seems that the future for office workers is looking bright.
I felt that a lot of the ideas in this collection were a continuation of last season - unusual stiff, boxy silhouettes juxtaposed with looser fabrics and nipped waists; contrasting prints and textures; 80s leanings - and it's very satisfying watching a designer evolve in this way, slowly, with continuity. It's also a good sign that Nicolas Ghesquiere is hitting a creative stride, and I'm already excited to see where everything goes next season.

Far from being reflective and shiny, Nina Ricci was dark and gothic. But not in an overly serious way! Because far from Nina Ricci being about a femme fatale this season, it was about a girl dressing up as one. Sort of. I guess only if this girl's mother or grandmother was a femme fatale, because that's whose closets the hypothetical Ricci girl was raiding.

I loved how the clothes managed to reflect dress-ups - baggy and haphazard, sleeves dragging past hands and old fashioned lace and tweed - without ever actually looking ill-fitted or like costumes. All that loose fabric was incredibly seductive, like how a proper ("proper" from a middle-class Australasian perspective) Parisian woman should look, at any age from her 20s to 40s, running around and breaking mens' hearts. It's a shame that Carine Roitfeld is no longer at Paris Vogue, these are the kind of clothes I can see her working with exceptionally well for the magazine.

all images from vogue.com

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