Every kind of design is affected by the time from which it springs, and looking at two versions of the same creative thought, separated by decades, is a chance to see cultural evolution in action. Nicholas Ghesquiere, who was for a time the designer at Balenciaga Spent most of his time charting new territory while in the chair there, but now and then would send something down the runway that was a direct nod of appreciation to the man who founded the firm.
Some of these pieces of his are quite direct copies of the original notion, others are further afield, but all manage to make what was designed half a century or more ago, look entirely a part of the now.
It is interesting to me to look at comparatives like these, charting some of the changes in how we see ourselves in the process. Overall I see a relaxation of rules, with all the positives and negatives that implies. We have, as a society, left behind us the kind of adult seriousness that pervades Balenciaga's work. Even when he was being playful, it was still within narrow confines. The way we live now allows us more opportunity to be playful, in fact its actively encouraged. Sometimes we take it to extremes, but its there, nonetheless. And that very playfulness, which can be exuberant, can also manifest as childishness, which is the negative aspect we see around us.
Which designer's work do I like better? I think Balenciaga is the better architect with textiles, but Ghesquiere has his eye more completely on the time and society. In the final analysis, I would go with Cristobal Balenciaga, for the sheer purity of his work, and its utterly faultless execution.