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The influence of Cristobal Balenciaga looms large over the coming inter-season collection, in more ways than one

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Last year, it was all about Yves Saint Laurent _ the man and the 1970s look he pioneered, not the brand which shall soon be known (to the dismay of many) as Saint Laurent Paris. This year fashion has been looking back further, to the 1950s, and the name Cristobal Balenciaga loomed large over the summer runway, and the influence of the late Spanish couturier has been cast even into the pre-fall season. 

Back in the summer, the Balenciaga effect manifested itself in the electrifying flare skirts, sculptured drapes, and highly structured basques on key runway shows such as Jil Sander, Jason Wu, Celine, Comme des Garcons and Rick Owens.

As the cool breeze sweeps in, designers look at another legacy of Balenciaga _ the massive volume and cocoon shape _ for the investment piece that is the coat.

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