Spanish in roots and French in provenance, Balenciaga is one of the world's most esteemed fashion houses. The appointment of creative director Nicolas Ghesquière in 1997 to the label vaulted it to its current enviable position in the fashion pantheon. Ghesquière’s radical designs are never a mere re-hash of master Cristobal Balenciaga’s original creations. The inimitable cocoon-shape silhouette synonymous with the house may have been reinterpreted repeatedly, yet under Ghesquière's imagination, it remains fresh and always compelling. The brand is now helmed by Asian-American designer Alexander Wang.