PFW A/W 13-14: Balenciaga
After two monumental debuts last season at Paris Fashion Week – namely Raf Simons for Dior and Hedi Slimane at Yves Saint Laurent – it was Alexander Wang’s turn this season, taking up the reins at Balenciaga after Nicholas Ghesquiere’s shock departure last November.
Wang kept his debut modest, showing a 34-look collection for Autumn/Winter 2013-14 in the salon rooms of Balenciaga HQ, as he commenced his tenure by attempting to navigate the heritage of one of the great Parisian fashion houses with his own aesthetic. The signature silhouettes of Balenciaga remained intact with sculpted cocoon shapes and bracelet sleeves drawing on Cristobel Balenciaga’s original designs, while Wang used marble as a theme for print and form. The monochrome faux-marble runway was mirrored in the cracked painted mohair sweaters, lace-effect trousers and swirled fur jackets. The clever use of a mirror allowed Wang to show off the occasional backless design for a 360-degree experience.
Entirely black and white, there was an urbane serenity to the show. Hair slicked back behind Alice bands, girlish accessories such as bow belts and boxy bags, and fiercely pointy shoes lent a potent air of femininity to the collection. While critics debate whether or not Wang played it too safe – with some citing a need for more personality and experimental direction to really put his stamp on the label – the collection proved Wang was a deserving candidate for the role, with a great deal of potential for taking Balenciaga into a new era.
See Alexander Wang’s eponymous A/W 13-14 collection in New York here.