Balenciaga Autumn Winter 2013: Alexander Wang Makes His Hotly Anticipated Debut

28 February 2013 by

With the weight of the fashion world on his shoulders, Alexander Wang served up a polished debut show for Balenciaga this morning. Since the end of Nicolas Ghesquiere’s fabled tenure at the Parisian based brand, editors have been predicting what the 29-year old Asian-American designer, known for his street meets couture aesthetic, would bring to the table. The show has undoubtedly been the most hotly anticipated of the season.

We now know that Wang has skillfully re-examined the late, great Cristobal Balenciaga’s archives and fused the grand house’s signatures with a clean and youthful spirit. The strong silhouette was quintessential Cristobal with rounded shoulders and curved, defined waists reminiscent of the founder’s 1950s Cocoon and Malabar Line collections. That handwriting was also evident in the choice of the curved ‘petale’ cuts seen on jackets and split peplums featured on dresses and trousers, while drapery at the hips seen on pants and gowns similarly recalled Balenciaga’s Spanish inspired 1946 collection.

But it wasn’t all homage. Indeed the designer must be congratulated for bringing much of his own sensibility seamlessly into the collection. Take the cracked paint-look sweaters, shiny flat boots and sexy unfastened backs – all details which kept Wang’s upscale lady connected to contemporary street style.

There were few vivid or kitschy stand-out pieces – save the blogger-worthy stormy, marble veined fur jackets which closed the show. Instead monochromatic good taste and simple elegance prevailed. This was a catwalk show which was immediately understandable and resolutely sellable. With the modern fabrics – think embossed, plasticized sweaters – clean and simple cuts and those kick-ass, toe cleavege revealing heels, this collection is sure to deliver the retail hit which Wang will ultimately be judged upon.


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