With a collection that put the sports in sportswear, Balenciaga's Nicolas Ghesquière turned his back on formality in favor of an emphasis on speed, mobility, and all things technical. The fabrics ran a gamut from shiny treated cotton to something whose selling point was its bulletproof-ness—call it Kevlar-lite. The lineup's futuristic tinge meshed more compatibly than previously with Ghesquière's work on the house's womenswear (and the lookbook compounded the compatibility still further). And even minus the chilly android styling, the clothes had plenty to recommend them.

Ghesquière loves a trim silhouette, so everything was belted to the body (some belts had an almost corsetlike grip); though unleashed, a pair of mackintoshes with leather revers had an appealing volume. More modernist than futurist were the wind parkas and sleeveless jackets, gray, white, and black being the favored shades, with startling accents of yellow and orange. Given the proclaimed technical nature of the collection, it was interesting that some of the strongest pieces were good old-fashioned leather, albeit in the form of an orange jean jacket or a two-tone motocross/safari hybrid. The mix of alien and familiar was, in fact, the real strength here, graphically illustrated by denim that had been folded, waxed, and then unfolded to produce a zebralike pattern.