Sometimes even the most popular fashion moments almost never were. Take the Balenciaga Lariat bag, for instance, the it-bag to end all it-bags, first produced in 2001 and still going strong over a decade later.
Balenciaga creative director, Nicolas Ghesquiere says that when the first prototypes of the bag were made ‘nobody cared; we had a couple of prototypes for a year’. But whilst the powers-that-be at Balenciaga weren’t impressed with the design, ‘every girl who was walking [the show], including Kate [Moss] came in and was like, “What is that? Is it vintage? Is it something that you found at the flea market?” I was like “No, it’s a handbag that we prototyped but just didn’t produce.” We didn’t produce it because I think when I showed the prototype to the people who asked me to do it, they weren’t happy with it ... Accessories [at the time] were rigid. Luxury leather, especially, was about rigidity. So they were not really happy, and they decided not to produce it. Then when it was in the studio and the models noticed it, I said, “I think we should just do 25. Let me just give them to the girls because at least some people will be happy.” And that product started from a very, very fashion point of view [and extended] to a very, very large, global audience.’
A VERY large global audience indeed.
Ghesquiere also spoke about the Gisele-in-biker-boots moment that occurred on his S/S ’11 catwalk, saying that ‘the idea was to have this crazy casting with Gisele and Amber Valletta and Carolyn [Murphy], and they said no for high heels. They were not used to walking with heels anymore. Gisele was worried; she would not walk with my heels ... I was already thinking flats and I was already preparing the flat shoes.’
And lo, Ghesquiere gave us Giselle in flat biker boots and a show that was a resounding success. ACTUAL geeenius.
- Alex Butt