Critics Compare Balmain and Balenciaga

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Looks from Balmain and Balenciaga. Photo: Imaxtree

Balmain
Christophe Decarnin's hard-edged, military-chic collection impressed the critics. Godfrey Deeny of Fashion Wire Daily deemed it "a returning heroine moment of great zest and epic edgy beauty, particularly admiring the opening look, which he called the best opener of the month-long season. Style.com called it "another whammy of a no-brainer blockbuster: disco cavewoman goes to the front." Fashion Week Daily lauded Decarnin for "know[ing] how to rock--and how to sell," lusting after the LGD (little gold dress) that was the "most sure-to-be-imitated item." Though Suzy Menkes of the International Herald Tribune found it a bit repetitive, she called it "full of energy and a raw sexual charge." Several reviewers noted the intensity of the looks: "There was absolutely no subtlety at the Balmain show, which was hard – literally," assessed Menkes. ("Others will argue...that wearing a belt with bullets arranged in a flower pattern or a military shirt with shrapnel holes filled in with gold patches is a fashion misdemeanor worthy of ten days in the slammer," quipped Style.com.) Indeed, "as a look, it was extreme," agreed WWD. "But for women who like their fashion that way, Decarnin has enough skill and production savvy at his disposal to pull it off."

Watch a slideshow of the Balmain collection.

Balenciaga
In his spring show, the critics felt Nicolas Ghesquière referenced some of his previous ideas while (mostly) maintaining a sense of innovation. "It had the feeling of clothes never before seen quite like this," assessed Suzy Menkes of the International Herald Tribune, who felt that Ghesquière's collection was "by far...more original and inventive [than Balmain]." Many critics praised the evident skill that went into each garment. "Every silhouette, each garment, every extraordinary tubular-ankled, open-toed boot is an uncopyable meld of futuristic technique and art craftsmanship," lauded Style.com. "Throughout, the craft on display approached haute levels," agreed WWD. Though Godfrey Deeny of Fashion Wire Daily found the show "perhaps a few points off Ghesquière’s "A" game," he allowed that the collection would "likely prove to be the most copied of any major label of this Spring 2010 season." Noting the references to previous seasons, "some people might not find it new enough," predicted Cathy Horyn of the New York Times. But she lauded the deconstruction, asserting that "the technique feels updated in Mr. Ghesquire’s hands – or, at any rate, controlled and polished." Overall, he put out a "dazzling display of chic that flaunted the core rock ’n’ roll bravado ... while looking plenty new," concluded WWD.

Watch a slideshow of the Balenciaga collection.