The last time we saw flowers at Balenciagawas ages ago, but even if you recall Spring 2008's orderly bouquets, they didn't look anything like the mix of exotic, colorful blooms and reptiles we saw on the first looks to hit the runway today. The shape, a below-the-knee skirt with an easy drape in the front (it was more structured in back), was new for Nicolas Ghesquière, too—longer, looser, and less restrained than usual. The jackets he showed them with were dramatic with a capital D, knit as they were from giant ribbons of faux leather, a favorite material of late. In Ghesquière's words, "The season is a game of proportion, zooming in on textures, the way seeing things with a loop [a magnifying glass] can give you different, shifting points of view. It's a bit surrealist.
BY NICOLE PHELPS