Thursday, September 25, 2014

PFW: Moving forward? (Superpower)

Balenciaga S/S '15; image source:
Blahlenciaga. Boringciaga. Should I keep going or did you get the memo? Now, every writer (inclu-ding me) loves playing with words, especially when the designer gives you a reason strong enough to play and that is exactly what thirty year old 'wunderkind-of-the-twenty-first-century' Alexander Wang did at Balenciaga just last night.

Let's get something straight. I am a fan of Mr. Wang's work and have been ever since his breakthrough in the fashion industry. I like his diffusion line, I love his main line and I am abso-lutely in awe of his ability to mix street-wear with high fashion. I even liked the idea of the designer replacing Nicolas Ghesquière at Balenciaga because I believed in his talent and I supported him during the first two seasons.

But this is just not working.

For his seventh season at the helm of the French house, Mr. Wang found inspiration in Matrix. But what could have been a futuristic and innovative collection turned out to be an underwhelming look at the past even though the designer has been trying to distance himself from Ghesquière's legacy and focus on Christobal Balenciaga's early work. The most luxurious and edge-cutting pieces were indeed the ones inspired by F/W '11 and S/S '09 - net overlays embellished with bulge beads covering sporty leotards and structured tops from ruched tulle respectively, as well as several light-weight sheer skirts adorned with diamond-shaped crystals that injected a little more glamour into the collection. But aside from that, everything else was basic and failed to deliver the desired impact.

What could be the reason for Mr. Wang's constant failure to present a groundbreaking collection that would be meaningful in context? Well, for one, we all still miss Nicolas Ghesquière's vision which pushed the envelope and created magic for the brand. But the more probable cause for this problem is the designer's lack of experience in couture. I personally believe that his seven year old career that focuses solely on desirable street-style clothes and relies mostly on instinct makes it nearly impossible for him to succeed at a house where skills and technique come before everything else.

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