Balenciaga Goes All Or Nothing

For most of us looking at runway shows is more about inspiration than about shopping. You might not buy one of the school boy style blazers Nicolas G
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For most of us looking at runway shows is more about inspiration than about shopping. You might not buy one of the school boy style blazers Nicolas G
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For most of us looking at runway shows is more about inspiration than about shopping. You might not buy one of the school boy style blazers Nicolas Ghesquiere showed for this fall, but you might get one from J.Crew, or steal one of your brother's. If you are buying off the runway, you can usually find a piece or two from a collection you like, buy it, work it into your existing wardrobe, and wear it to death. But this season Balenciaga doesn't work that way. Nicolas presented ensembles in the truest sense of the word, which means "together" in French. His looks were complete, his dresses meant to be worn as is. The dresses looked like they could stand on their own, literally. They don't cling to the shape of your body; they reshape it. How could you drape a sweater over those puffed shoulders? Layer jeans under those padded hips? You can't. These pieces don't work like that. In an era that trumpets mixing the high with the low and the triumph of personal style, these aren't pieces you can dress up or down, mix and match. They're a throwback to the couture era when women wore looks straight off the runway. That's what makes it feel like there's not much to take away from this collection. There's nothing to personalize, or make your own. You can either buy one of Nicolas' dresses and wear it or you can't. You can't get an approximation at Topshop, or restyle some of your old pieces in a new way. You can't buy one piece from the collection and integrate it into the rest of your wardrobe. We recognize the sharp brilliance of that kind of vision, but it makes us sad. This collection left us out in the cold. --ANNA FIELDING GRIGGS