In November, when Balenciaga handed over the keys to New York based, street wear designer Alexander Wang, there was a lot of criticism and cries of sacrilege and stupide! Fashion editors and fashion followers had been awaiting the debut of this 29-year-old Asian origin designer ever since he succeeded Nicolas Ghesquirere, for the Parisian house of Balenciaga.
And after much wait at fashion week, Wang delivered a polished debut show leaving the critics stunned and silenced for a while. His eponymous New York label’s energized street style was blended with the couture aesthetics of the house of Balenciaga. In his collection, he went for a minimalist approach opting for a basic elegant palette of black and white with a tinge of colors like brown and dark green.
While one might say that Wang played it safe, I’d say he poked around the archives of Balenciaga following the footsteps of the “Master of us all” Cristobal Balenciaga. There were clear hints of Balenciaga’s 1950s modernity and 60s evening style, such as the round hem coats and jackets, bits of fur, petal shaped hems, the cap sleeves etc. It reminded us of the pink gazar gown which is at the haute couture exhibit at Hotel de Ville.
Yet, it wasn’t all homage! Wang brought together his street smartness and youthfulness with the house’s signatures. He made the look interestingly minimal and less constructed, so that it looked more realistic and wearable for today. And one of the individualistic features that he added was texture! Very interestingly, on the runway, what appeared as stiffened wool was actually knit, the crackled leather lookalike was actually painted knits, and the plastic pieces that looked injected and rolled were actually embroidered. All such little detail in the collection kept the brand’s image intact even after incorporating Wang’s youthful approach.
I feel that the modernization of quintessential Balenciaga will surely be a retail hit. And the New York based designer can build for the upcoming seasons by adding little more and decorating it further.I thought the collection was great debut but lacked that “Raf for Dior” zing to it. What do you think about this debut? And importantly, we need to see how buyers react to this collection. To buy our not, that is the question.alexander wang, balenciaga