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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Alexander Wang Warming Up on the Runway

Posted by: Rachel Iwaniec

So what can we expect from Alexander Wang this month?

Well, Wang’s latest fashion show for his own label gave us a bit of a taste for his debut as creative director at Balenciaga. While we have seen Mr. Wang congeal odd pairings, like his fur zip-up that spliced into a silk cape from his Fall ’11 collection or the dissected throng of white dresses that were held together by fish net, invisible to the eye, at his Spring ’12 collection, this season conveyed a heightened sense of maturity.

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Mr. Wang’s girl is no longer exclusively hanging out in the downtown nightlife.  She is no longer inclined to wear what she wore the night before to work.  In all actuality, Mr. Wang’s girl might not even be going out on the weekdays.

In favor of a loose fit, Wang continued to portray his girl as the one veering off the path, displaying versions of his sweatpant and sweatshirt accents.

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 However there was a feeling of heighten conservative dressing.  Sweaters met the neckline, skirts hit below the knee, and other than the finally, shoulders and ankles were the most exposed part of the body.

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The stiff nature of many of the materials gave the loose garments a hard edge that was not to be messed with. Nothing was slouchy; rather every crease had a purpose.

  _ON_0414.450x675 Accessories maintained Wang’s constant teetering between sexy chic and androgyny.

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Flat boots and loafers provided the edge to some of his more feminine pieces, while dainty heels and mules accentuated some of the only exposed skin.

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Coming to the end of the show, part of me was expecting to see a well-groomed, suit-wearing, Marc Jacobs look-a-like waving from the runway, but Mr. Wang perforated the scene in his carefree state in black jeans, a sweater and his long hair.

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The designer is still recounting the life of a downtown girl, but she no longer cares for cotton basics or bomber jackets.  Rather her leather coats come accompanied with fur details and occasionally fur mittens evoking the image of boxing gloves.  Either way, his smirk at the end of runway reminded us that there is still more to come.  We just have to wait for his girl to get to Paris.