Three from Paris.
BALENCIAGA. New York designer, Alexander Wang, showed his third collection for Balenciaga on Thursday. The anticipation for his collection seemed to have waned a bit, as fashion's residential players are now acknowledging him as a fixture to the brand. Or are they? We'll get to that.
There was an interesting incorporation of knits this season, a material and craft that neither Cristobal nor Nicholas really incorporated into previous Balenciaga collections. These knits were utilized in the cocoon coats with asymmetrically-emphasized collars and in boxier sweaters adorned with fur pinstripes, reminiscent of, perhaps, a Yankees jersey. Then there was the innovation, as young Mr. Wang tends to do, in his use of latex. He molded vibrantly-colored latex pieces into classic toggle coats with the texture of a classic fisherman's sweater. The concept of having the knit as an intermediary for blazers, latex toggle coats, and cocoons was interesting. There was both structure and softness within a single garment. His cut-out shirts (tail on one side, ending just before the hip on the other side) were interesting, his leather dresses with crystal detail were ill-fitting, paltry. His pants were intriguing and well-fitted. They were skinny, sometimes with zippers, unless when in satin, wherein he utilized the very fluidity of the fabric to create proportion. The pants were an unabashed reference to Balenciaga beyond Cristobal; it felt as if Nicholas might be home.
Still, back to the top. Is that fusion of Wang x Balenciaga really there? Sure, he's utilized the famous cocoon shape of the House all collections. He even seems to be unable to break away from it. And yet, his collections, especially this one, have started to feel a little more like him. Still, when it comes down to it, the clothes almost propel the editor, consumer and viewer to nitpick between what is Wang and what is Balenciaga. The clothes are very cohesive, but perhaps both the Wang and the Balenciaga are much to polarizing to yet fit perfectly like puzzle pieces. Maybe it's a matter of time, as that undeniably helped Nicholas make the house his. He also didn't have a namesake line, though.
MARGIELA. Should this show require a simple motto to sum up its entirety: She Wears the Pants. Womenswear as menswear and vice versa is no new feat. In fact, it can often feel tired when the words "contradiction" or "opposites" are involved. But where this Margiela collection is involved, those phrases are taken quite literally and wonderfully portrayed in Margiela's signature transformative garments.
The femininity quite literally emerged from the more mens' -- no gentlemen-ly -- wear pieces, like tweed blazers and navy overcoats. The use of the off-the-shoulder technique to display the feminine masculine felt both robust and delicate. the House has undeniably toned down and softened their signature extravagance in recent collections, and what is left is some very good basics. Even in staples like a fisherman's sweater, though, the shoulders are slightly horned, and the pants tailored pants are still exuberant in their flow-y, wider proportions.
The notion of less demure basics is a romantic one, and Margiela does it well. They make staples, but they're just not entirely standard.
ACNE. Acne still elicits mental images of good-fitting jeans and Swedish bloggers circa 2007. However, in the past five or so years, Acne has taken a distinctly new turn for the more avant-garde, their collections resembling the love child of Comme des Garcons and Maison Martin Margiela. If there had to be a fashion love child, the aforementioned is a brilliant one, but when the previous mental images come to mind, how does one define the true look of the brand. In a way, this is the same tension that has manifested between Wang's sportswear look and Balenciaga's minimalist grandeur in the era of the Great Houses. This season, the wearability factor (when considering the demographic of the consumer) was back without compromise of this newer direction.
There was an apparent beachy vibe to clothes that manifested in the swirly patterns of garments in browns, aquas, and pinks. They seemed to be references to the design of brochures or PSAs that might say "Come Surf California, Dudes!" in 1971.
The pieces shown ran the gamut in terms of aesthetic. The cohesive nature of the collection was different this season in that the aforementioned pattern carried through the collection was a much more literal tie than in seasons' past. There were little motor jackets for mass consumption, to low waist, wide-leg Bermuda shorts for the bolder consumer. The best pieces, however, were in the all-encompassing knits. They wrapped the body up, but when paired with a pant in the same color, looked sophisticated and put together. Perhaps the most interesting part about the collection was its lightness despite oversized knits and beanies. The collection had all of the elements of fall, yet the spirit was very light. The concept of lightness in winter and heaviness in summer usually is the most unpractical yet wonderful concept. Here there wasn't any trade-off in the cleanliness of summer vibes vs. warmth. And that's important.
All photos from Style.com
Posted by Emma at 3/02/2014 08:25:00 AM