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Paris Fashion Week: Balenciaga's garden of delights

March 3, 2011 |  1:44 pm

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Innovative, modern and thoroughly wearable. Nicolas Ghesquiere's Balenciaga collection was fashion gold, and a 180 degree turn from his foray into punk for spring.

Working a long, lanky, feminine silhouette, poised atop sexy, strappy heels, Ghesquiere used broad strokes of color (red, blue, purple) and the unusual materials that have become a house signature.

Right away, he succeeded in making the skirt a covetable item, showing several versions of paneled, knee-length styles with asymmetrical hems--all of them effortless.

The first few were in silk garden prints described by Ghesquiere as "hallucinogenic." You could just make out a tropical bloom here, and a lizard tail there.

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One was paired with an chunky vest knitted from thick cords of fake leather, a fresh alternative to the now-ubiquitous bushy fur vests.

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Other skirts in navy or black silk were trimmed in leather trim, and topped with crewneck sweaters--a look that, I dare say, could work in the office.

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And in a season where we've seen dresses over pants from nearly every designer, Ghesquiere's take was bar none. Draped and colorblocked silk chemise dresses were the height of cool over slim-fitting, foam wool pants with small slits in the back, letting them rest easily over the high heels.

When the next show had started an hour later, editors were still talking about how much there was to wear--and how they needed to start saving up now. It was quite a turnaround for Ghesquiere, whose last few runway collections have been wonderfully conceptual, but not necessarily accessible.

--Booth Moore in Paris

PHOTOS:

Balenciaga fall-winter 2011 runway collection photo gallery

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Photos: Looks from the Balenciaga fall-winter 2011 runway collection shown during Paris Fashion Week. Credit: Jonas Gustavsson and Peter Stigter / For The Times.

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