The entire fashion world held its breath over the appointment of Alexander Wang to Balenciaga. Wang, who has made a name for himself with downtown parties, palling around with emerging musicians, and marrying the moto-boot to the mega-heel, is distinctly American. How can he adequately improve upon the Spanish house's trajectory after the very passionate, very French, and very lauded Nicolas Ghesquière? At 29, how could such a young designer have the skills to appreciate the history of Balenciaga?
Today, of course, the entire fashion world found out. For the most part, the reviews were kind and subdued, but almost all of style's critical heavyweights have weighed in. To narrow your search, here are the best quotes and observations about Alexander Wang's inaugural Balenciaga collection:
"The New York designer can certainly build on these clothes for next season, adding color and maybe more decoration, but if he continues to strike that modern balance between couture and the street, he will renew a great name — and win over doubters." — Cathy Horyn feels confident about his future at Balenciaga in The New York Times.
“Only a small selection of media was invited, and, although this presented a challenge for the press attaché — “'Only 80 seats, can you imagine?'” said one — it did mean that the focus for Wang’s debut was purely on the clothes. (A humble start given the star power and pull the native New Yorker has displayed for his own eponymous line)." — Alice Cavanagh of The Daily Beast.
"It's fair to say that there was more Balenciaga than Alexander Wang in this particular collection — the looseness of his fabrications replaced by something stiffer and more luxurious here — and it was right that he let the house take over. It's a big house after all and this is his first season." — Jessica Bumpus, Vogue UK
"The stardust in Wang's own-label collections at New York fashion week has always been a sixth sense about what young women want to wear, and it is that connection which PPR hopes he can bring to Balenciaga...Where Ghesquiere's design processes were intricate and multi-layered, Wang's approach was to present the subtle, nuanced codes of Balenciaga in a new, simple way. As Wang commented after the show, Balenciaga himself 'took the avant-garde, and made it everyday.'" — Jess Cartner-Morley, fashion editor at The Guardian.
"The front row cheered as the designer took his bow — proof of his well earned and enduring popularity and a sign he will be supported going forward. He should be as proud of his work as we are." ELLE editor-in-chief Lorraine Candy.
"Based on his body of work in New York, it’s hard to imagine him embracing obvious retro over the long haul; he may feel compelled to inject a grittier currency going forward. Nor did the show offer the heady thrill of Nicolas Ghesquière’s best work, the brilliance of which brought the house from decades of dormancy back into the forefront of fashion until the designer’s tenure there started to sour. But for a collection not a minute more than two months in the making from first glimmer to runway, it made for an impressive start." — WWD.
"For my money, it looked decidedly more grown up than his previous offerings (no surprise there), rather pretty in places (not a word usually associated with Wang's collections), lacking in colour, and a bit weird towards the end. All in all, not a bad start. Maybe." — Belinda White at The Telegraph .
"There were few vivid or kitschy stand-out pieces – save the blogger-worthy stormy, marble veined fur jackets which closed the show. Instead monochromatic good taste and simple elegance prevailed. This was a catwalk show which was immediately understandable and resolutely sellable." — Catherine Ormerod at Grazia .
The mostly black and white collection certainly struck a chord with us, as well, so stay tuned for our review, too.
Photo: Via Grazia.