For his second collection at Balenciaga, Alexander Wang was inspired by a vist to the archives of the Cristobal Balenciaga Museum in Getaria, Spain (Balenciaga’s birth place). The resulting assortment is an examination and deconstruction of the sculptural couture shapes for which Balenciaga is known.
Like Wang’s first collection for Balenciaga, resort heavily references the key codes of the house, particularly those razor-sharp lines and volume Cristobal was known for, but there are also some new themes.
Wang‘s black-and-white scribble-prints embody a deceptively polished angst. Like his crackle-facade fabrics for Fall 2013, these motifs explore the house’s imperfect/perfect dichotomy. That is not to say the precision we’ve come to expect from the house was compromised; inarguably, exact tailoring still held court within the collection’s all black-and-white sportswear range, as a fisherman’s pant–styled with a severe pressed crease–factored prominently in several key looks. It’s a pant proportion that feels fresh for the season, and Wang showed us that in refined black fabric, it makes for quite a versatile trouser. On the aesthetic flip side of that coin, the assortment’s draped and folded pieces moved things in a softer, more fluid direction–a nod to the relaxed seaside lifestyle of Getaria.
While critics and fashion journalists will scrutinize these decisions to no end, those that monitor the bottom line will be more interested in what Wang does with accessories. Resort 2014 featured two sizes of a chain-link-handled tote that complemented the assortment–but didn’t make the boldest of statements. In contrast, the delivery’s shoes–accented with fringe and kilties–worked beautifully with coordinated hats to inject vital notes of wit.
These looks, like the ones Wang presented previously, were classically chic–the kind of thing you’d expect from a house built on high elegance and refinement.