The 2010s / Nicolas Ghesquière’s AW12 for Balenciaga

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Believe it or not – I can’t! – but we’re heading towards a new millenium. So, how do you choose the most important collections, designers and labels of the decade? The ones that made an actual impact in the 2010s? Well, it’s not an easy task. It all began in September 2009 with New York’s spring-summer 2010 shows and ended when the autumn-winter 2019 haute couture shows wrapped in Paris. Few thousands of shows, by the way. There will be 19 posts (that’s really the only possible minimum!) reminding about the best – and if not the best, then strongly influencing – moments in fashion.

Nicolas Ghesquière‘s AW12 collection for Balenciaga – “Join A Weird Trip“!

Nicolas Ghesquière’s time at Balencaga defined the 2000s and the first years of 2010s. And his autumn-winter 2012 collection is one of the greats. The corporate spies and outer-space agents on fluorescent-lit runway: that’s a fashion moment you just can’t forget. The designer moved the fashion conversation along  in a few different ways with this line-up: by proposing new silhouettes with exaggerated, even challenging proportions (bonded leather coats with shoulders out to there, sculptural padded sweaters over stiff A-line skirts with doubled front panels); by deliberately trafficking in items of “questionable” taste (those black satin sweatshirts with spacey slogans like “JOIN A WEIRD TRIP” and “OUT OF THE BLUE” are today the ultimate collector item!); and by continuing to emphasize fabric research. The IT girls wore jumpsuits made from a hi-tech parachute material, and his animal prints came two ways—as a jacquard snake on the wool bodices of the office rebels’ strapless dresses and as leopard spots that looked like liquid mercury on the executives’ jackets. Incredible. Of course, to be honest with you, any Balenciaga collection by Ghesquière is a favourite, so here’s a brief recap of the best moments starting from 2010:

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SS12, AW11 and SS13.

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SS10, SS11 and AW10.

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AW12, SS11 and AW10.

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Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

 

The 2010s / Comme Des Garçons AW12

Believe it or not – I can’t! – but we’re heading towards a new millenium. So, how do you choose the most important collections, designers and labels of the decade? The ones that made an actual impact in the 2010s? Well, it’s not an easy task. It all began in September 2009 with New York’s spring-summer 2010 shows and ended when the autumn-winter 2019 haute couture shows wrapped in Paris. Few thousands of shows, by the way. There will be 19 posts (that’s really the only possible minimum!) reminding about the best – and if not the best, then strongly influencing – moments in fashion.

Rei Kawakubo‘s “flat” collection, Comme Des Garçons AW12.

Back in 2012, I was 13. And this collection was a complete fantasy for me. “The future’s in two dimensions” was its provocative premise. The cutout paper-dolliness of looks like the red and pink felted coat-dresses that opened the show, or the lilac jacket and pants that followed – all that was amazingly odd and phenomenal at the same time. In fact, this wasn’t just about fun dressing up – hello, it’s Rei Kawakubo’s work! – but rather a comment on the state of the industry (there was a sort of creativity crisis in the end of 2000s and the beginnings of 2010s, to be honest). If the fashion industry was happy with coverage that reduces its most elevated endeavors to two dimensions, then Rei was going to reduce the industry itself to an equally flat proposition. A handful of ultra-clichéd fashion patterns – camo, leopard, florals, polka dots – were used in the most literal of ways. The “eveningwear” was all about sequins, the ultimate evening cliché. How flat! Kawakubo mocked fashion and us, the viewers, but at the same she created wearable, geometric art-works that still make you sigh with delight. Here’s Iris Apfel photographed by Jeff Bark for Dazed & Confused wearing the most striking pieces from the collection. Naturally, the 13 year old me needed that issue. And the today me still cherishes it for this stunning editorial.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Ghesquière’s Blade Runner Girl

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Some collections are just unforgettable. And some do both: remain in your mind for seasons to come and stay ahead of time in their remarkable authenticity. Nicolas Ghesquière‘s autumn-winter 2012 collection for Balenciaga happens to fall into the latter camp. Bonded leather coats with over-sized shoulders, voluminous sweaters over cosmic A-line skirts, memorable sweatshirts with Join a Weird Trip signs. Too much of goodness.

I think this one specific line-up of the visionary designer wasn’t as well understood in 2012 as it would have been today – its singularity, sharp modernism and wearability feel so today, but also so 2020, 2030 and who knows – 2040? After seeing the new trailer of Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049, I just couldn’t hold myself from writing this short post as it made me think of Ghesquière’s brilliance right away. Blade Runner‘s neo-noir sci-fi sequel, coming later this year, is highly anticipated – and the designers can’t wait too, as Raf Simons did an entire menswear collection dedicated to the cult film. By the way, while designing at Louis Vuitton, Nicolas tends to frequently refer to Blade Runner while describing his futuristic collections.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.