Long before the term ‘lookbook’ was coined, Cristobal Balenciaga had each of his haute couture collections photographed and archived. This unseen record of the poses of Balenciaga’s house models as they clutch fabric and strike couture attitudes, formed the background study for the Balenciaga Women Fall Winter 17 collection. Coats and jackets, in particular, are cut to follow the gesture of a woman who sweeps a bolt of material over her shoulder, creating a swathed volume which can be buttoned, and unbuttoned at will.

The observation of spontaneous social habits and the reconsideration of existing objects is the underlying design practice here. Specifically aimed at developing coolness and elegance for a new Balenciaga woman, the search for chic incorporates the accidental ideas which may occur in fittings. Some garments come fused together - skirts within coats - to spark options for the wearer. The prints of dresses and T-shirts are echoed in the fabric-draped ‘Knife’ stilettoes.

The methodology of repurposing continues: car-mats have been wrapped as skirts and patched to the back of shirts. Nylon spare tire covers are carried as totes, detached wing-mirrors made into efficient evening bags.

The Balenciaga Women Fall Winter 17 collection marks a further step forward, with the re-introduction of Balenciaga’s haute couture history. To coincide with the 100th anniversary of the founding of the house, a selection of the shapes and volumes of Cristobal Balenciaga’s couture dresses have been reinterpreted from the in-house photographs. Made-to-order, these dresses are either branded with the original BB house logo, or clearly labelled on the back with the year, collection and garment description. Also, as a practical gesture, pockets have been added to several of the gowns. Some of the extravagant couture fabrics are carried right through to matching editions of Bazar bags.