Thursday 28th February 2013 at 9am. The fashion world waited with baited breath for the Balenciaga AW13 collection. Why the anxious wait? Months prior after showing his critically acclaimed SS13 collection then Creative Director Nicolas Ghesquiere was leaving to then be replaced by the young New York designer Alexander Wang. A shock to fashion world everyone waited to see what direction the New Yorker would take the great house of Balenciaga into.
Presented in the intimate salons of Balenciaga in the Avenue George V. The new era of Balenciaga was presented to select few editors, press and buyers. Those luck enough to get a golden ticket into one of two showings.
Prior to the date many suspected that Wang would take the label along the sporty, youthful, high NRG edge of his eponymous New York label. However it was evident from the start that Wang had spent numerous hours in the immense Balenciaga archives.
The first look signalled a change from the start. Set in a monochromatic palette of black, white and grey the first exit featured a black coat clasped with a silver pin at the neck with a dropped, curved shoulder. Coats cocooned and hugged the body; a distinct play with volume and shape and true to the codes founded by Cristobal Balenciaga from the start.
Notable was the level of sophistication and precision that was evident. There was trousers that were high waisted and skinny; tailored and coat to precision. The black dresses crisp and neat were spliced, cut out or featured a bar cross at the back sometimes revealing a silver bow details. The silver pin and bow detail was consistently reproduced throughout the collection featuring on the waists of knee-length skirts, cigarette trousers and boots.
The later half of the collection echoed the cracked floors of the venue. Fusing couture technique and street wise ingenuity was on display in the knitwear presented. This translated into cracked mohair knitwear in shades of virginal white and black that at first glance resembled cracked leather.
What Wang has proven is that for a man of his age he not only has the capacity to design to dress the young New York set but also the sophisticated Parisian woman. There’s yet more great things to come from this young man who is barely cracking the surface.