>> Those flat Balenciaga biker boots that have been so popular? Without them, according to Nicolas Ghesquiere, there wouldn't have been a Gisele Bundchen moment on the Spring 2011 Balenciaga runway: "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."
Another defining Balenciaga moment that almost was not? The ever-popular, 11-year-old Lariat bag. "The group that owned Balenciaga in the old times — licensing blah, blah, blah — they heard that accessories were hot and they asked me, ‘Would you do a few bags with a license? We think it could make a little business,’" Ghesquiere says. "And we did this prototype and nobody cared; we had a couple of prototypes for a year."
One of those prototypes was the Lariat, he confirms: "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."