Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Decoding the Multicultural: The House of Balenciaga and its Fall/Winter 2007 Collection

by Sara Johenning

The House of Balenciaga is one of the most esteemed and directional fashion brands working today. Initially founded by a Spanish designer, Cristobal Balenciaga, in 1937, the House has progressed into the modern day fashion frontier under the creative direction of Nicolas Ghesquiere, a young French designer who has had control of the House since 1997. The House of Balenciaga was built on and is still associated with impeccable craftsmanship, the play of fabric and color, and exaggerated/structurally baffling silhouettes (i.e. the “tonneau”, or barrel-shaped line).

Although some of the notions of power that Cristobal built his House on have shifted in recent years due to Ghesquiere’s redirection of the brand, Balenciaga has managed to become a major force in the Parisian fashion scene, while still paying generous homage to its Spanish routes.

More specifically, by analyzing Ghesquiere’s FW07 collection for the House closely – in relation to the brand’s history, visual power codes (the ruff, military jacket, ikat textile, and Palestinian keffiyeh), and Parisian street culture, a bricollaged signification of multicultural dressing is revealed.

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