(images via ny mag)
for his s/s 2011 show at balenciaga, nicolas ghesquière sourced his looks from london punks and streetwear, commenting that, “The boyish side of a woman can be very attractive.” (probably in reference to the cropped haircuts many a model was sporting.) which brings us to…
notably. except for stella tennant, who appears to like her hair manageable, the only girls forced into a crop were his “characters”; women who had been street-casted over the preceding june. tossing between these, um, regular people, were a number of famous models…gisele, amber valletta (below), carolyn murphy, and even a knocked-up miranda kerr to boot, seemingly proving that these girls are more than merely clothes hangers.
at first glance, street casting seems a little intriguing, right? so i thought, too, for a moment. then, as i continued to look, i realized nothing is really changing. it’s not as though they got girls who look so shockingly different from the rest, or cast a show with all of them. they’re still throwing professionals into the mix & “supermodels” to catch the attention of a fickle industry that likes to see these things.
in the end, we’ll probably see more than a few of these girls signed & appearing now & again on runways. after all, how many models we know now (indeed, like freja beha erichsen, above) were first scouted chillin’ on the streets of their home areas? furthermore, it annoys me to no end only the non-famous girls were requested to fuck up their hair. as if they don’t matter, they’re merely decoration, while, yannow, girls like freja, they can’t be bothered with that shit. so, i’m stamping this effort with a giant FAIL.
in the end, it’s amazing how much designers believe they can appease the simpletons (us) with a little switchup, as if we’re not going to notice the smokescreen. a newfound high fashion love for miranda kerr doesn’t somehow prove the industry is evolving. it’s merely embracing a bigger pair of breasts on the sample size body.
allegedly, all this fuss about personality was supposed to showcase individuality in the collection. which…perhaps it did, in a way, with the references to hard-livin’ types who wear thick soled boots and likely roll their own cigarettes, but it was presented in the characteristic balenciaga way, which is to say, it “read” much like his other collections.
in other words, there were those tailored looks, experimental pieces, and pretty (more commercial) dresses, a format the designer has followed many a time in his presentations. indeed, it takes a while to glimpse it, but take a look back through the archives.
of course, he should get some credit for busting out the flats & taking a trip to a place that doesn’t include bohemian fringe or tangerine shades, but it’s also kind of hard to see such a deliberately counter-culture movement paraded on a runway as the next big “look” for a major luxury house.
one might argue, and i’m going to, as someone who lived in warehouses, where people subsisted on dumpster-dived food, that this whole culture isn’t really friendly to the socialite set about to be wearing their looks and it’s priming a lot of people for “POSER” tags to be branded on their foreheads.
but that’s just me. the likes of style & wwd are eating this nonsense up. thus, critically (and likely commercially), we have a new winner. and new proof, besides the choosing of models, that the mainstream high fashion industry is an immovable art force not really getting that they’re casting themselves as the butt of jokes, rather than an edgy institution we all of us aspire to.
(see the full show here)