Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Savoir Faire

I have a thing for Nicolas Ghesquière. Don’t get me wrong. I love John Galliano’s genius creations for Dior and the ad campaigns for Elie Tahari and Blumarine, but NG has single-handedly restored the beauty and grace that Cristóbal Balenciaga brought to his original house while other venerable Parisian houses like Lanvin have floundered. Long ago, before celebs toted Balenciaga motorcycle bags, there were great mavens of style like Marella Agnelli wearing his designs.
The late great fashion icon is being honored with a retrospective at Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. (Take a peek at snaps from the opening party with Charlotte G. and other luminaries.) Balenciaga first began his design empire in San Sebastian (LOVE this seaside town!) and then opened his temple of French taste on avenue George V in 1937.
His sculptural creations—including funnel-shape gowns of stiff duchess satin worn by clients such as Pauline de Rothschild and Mona von Bismarck—were considered haute couture masterpieces in the 1950s and 1960s. Hubert de Givenchy, no slouch himself, was his protégé. He closed his business in 1968 after being disillusioned with the advent of pret-a-porter. Today under the direction of Ghesquiere, Balenciaga rivals other exciting young designers like Zac Posen and Phoebe Philo for Chloé . Finalement, my current bag obsession by Frenchman and designer, Pierre Hardy. Dommage!


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