Alexander Wang’s Balenciaga Debut

Posted by: Rachel Iwaniec         

With all the flash walking down the runway this season, the highly anticipated, Balenciaga show stands out.  Critics were foaming at the mouth, ready for another Lindsay Lohan moment in fashion.  It was going to go down one of two ways: Mr. Wang would succumb to the endless doubt pouring from the media and everyone else’s mouths. Or the definition of a talented designer would have to be re-written.

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Weeks before fashion month and days following Mr. Wang’s personal show, everyone believed they knew the fate of the 29 year-old.  Trying to implement some sort of formula, critics and fashion observers alike attempted to solve the conundrum that was the unknown.  Many expressed anger towards Mr. Pinault’s decision to appoint Wang to the thrown of the fashion house that since its inception had never been touched by an American or anyone under the age of thirty for that matter.  Others believed that Wang’s Fall collection for his own label was telling of what we would be seeing on the runway at Balenciaga.  In reality, we were all wrong.

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The minimalistic and acute attention to detail was breath taking.  Simultaneously the young designer seemed to effortlessly expand the fashion label to suggest more wearable shapes while staying close to the brand’s original designs. Showing his respect for those that preceded him, Mr. Wang’s modus operandi oozed out of every detail in the garments.  Personally, I could not take my eyes off the boots and every little bow-tie detail.  A nod to the original works of the label, these small, but significant details added a touch of elegance to the very structured form.  While some believed the designer played it too safe with his first collection for Balenciaga, no one could dispute Wang’s success and talent.

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The thing that strikes me the most from Balenciaga’s new affairs is the fashion industry’s difficulty adapting to change.  In a business where everything has a short shelf life, I find it surprising that so many were distraught and disoriented by the decision to appoint not only a young designer, but a designer from another country.  Today nothing is as it seems.  Outsourcing, technology, competition, and so much more have muddied the boundaries that shaped the foundations of the industry.  So my question is, how can the fashion elite reject new playersIsn’t fashion supposed to be the asylum for all things out of the ordinary? 

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Alexander Wang’s success in his role at Balenciaga should mark a new chapter for the industry.  Rather than scoffing, fashion should provide support for such moments.

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The Voice of Experience: José Castro

Posted by: Verónica Maya

Born in 1971 and of Galician origins José Castro is one of the most well-known Spanish designers in the world. Member of the Federation for French Couture together with fellow Spaniards  Balenciaga y and Paco Rabanne. His key inspiration has always come from cinema, from a very young age José was inspired by the costume and scenography of his favourite genre; horror. He started his studies in Barcelona and then went on to study at the prestigious London Royal College of Art.

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All of these resulted in the following honours for José Castro

He was the first Spaniard to exhibit at the La Redoute and to be on the cover of Le Monde, to collaborate with the likes of Antonio Miró, Dolce & Gabbana, Alexander MacQueen, Marina Rinaldi and María Moreira. He also became director of Miró Jeans and was one of the original creators of the Desigual concept and has also worked with the Indetex group designing a new shopping bag for Bershka.

José Castro has created various collections including Dead Bird, Noitulove, Blue Sky, Redrum and currently Aurora. He has also created collections for the catwalks of Carrousel du Louvre de París and Palais Omnisports de Paris Bercy. His designs are known for their dimensions, texture and in particular the colour which he christened “Rosa Castro”. His designs have been modeled by celebrities including Whoopi Goldberg, Beth Ditto, Paz Vega and Sarah Jessica Parker who wore an amazing jeans in the Sex and the City movie.

As well as his brand label José Castro, the José Castro Study is always dedicated to carrying out freelance work on both a national and international level.

José Castro is clearly nothing less than an example to emulate in the fashion industry. AGORIQUE has been given the opportunity to ask his opinion about his beloved fashion universe in which he was once an emerging designer. 

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AWhat meaning does fashion have for you today?

J: Bearing in mind the current situation that we are living, fashion for me is love and passion as well as a form of sustenance for me and my eccentric habits. Having worked for different companies and projects has enabled me to follow an enriching path, developing an independent future and more importantly a new type of know-how for my own label.

A: In the world of fashion, everything comes back in, how does this affect yourself and others in the creative sector?

J: As a freelance designer I use trends to carry out my work in other companies. Nevertheless when I am creating for my own collection I put these trends to one side and I focus on my passion to fuse past and future, by incorporating vintage. We are living in an interesting time for creativityand now more than ever you have to be unique to differentiate yourself in this sector, looking inside yourself and being true to yourself.

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A: We know that you have collaborated with the mass market sector. Do you think fashion loses its relationship with art in this sector?

J: Mainstream fashion can also involve art. As can be seen by the Margiela for H&M collection, fashion can clearly be transferred to the mass consumer without losing its purity and the essence of art and creativity.

AWho do you most admire? 

J: Above all Alexander McQueen, Thierry Mugler and Alber Elvaz. Among Spanish deigners I most admire Amaya Arzuaga, Roberto Diz, Manuel Bolaño and Miriam Ponsa.

A: What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome in order to get to where you are now?

J: In the beginning the fact that I had to fund my studies without any financial help and without perfect English was difficult, but I always kept in mind the fact that where there is a will there is a way I overcame these obstacles.

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A: Which emerging designer should we look out for?

J: Leandro Cano

A: What is your advice to designers starting out in these current hard economic times?

J: I would say gaining as much experience as possible through internships and work experience to learn as much as possible. Being as active as possible will give you experience whatever the outcome may be.  Remain conscious that  you must also focus your efforts on the commercial part.

A: Why should we opt for Spanish fashion?

J: I believe that Spain can be a powerful candidate for new alternatives and artistic proposals to emerge, which will generate new opportunities so why not opt for Spain?

A: What can you tell us about your new collection?

J: At the moment I am really going back to my roots, working a freelance made me want to go back to take advantage of this moment and the creative process of my collections without giving myself a deadline, just as I did with my ¨Raven¨ collection.

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A: What is your motto?

J: Whatever happens stay true and loyal to yourself.

Thanks you José Castro for your tips!