While his black dresses and kimono-sleeve jackets in tweed or flannel broadcast an austere-but-wearable message, the second half of his show was decidedly more experimental. His draped velvet and taffeta tops are an allusion to the Spanish painters Francisco Goya and Francisco de Zurbarán, while Whiteread’s eerie resin sculptures inspired Ghesquière to experiment with latex, plastic and other “artificial” materials in various combinations with couture fabrics. Chinese screens inspired the finale suite of latex dresses hand-painted with nature scenes.
For these, he was keen to avoid all implications of fetish in his use of latex, which is why he lined all the dresses with pale green or pink silk. Instead, his intention was to make latex and plastic noble and luxurious with craft techniques. Indeed, they look expensive—and they are, retailing from $46,000 up to $86,000 apiece. “We sold some in some quantities. That’s the luxury of having your own stores. There is a customer for exceptional pieces, more and more, actually,” he says. “You don’t know what’s going to be wearable—that’s the beauty of fashion.”