collections

BalenciagaFall Winter 2014 Paris

Runway Review
2/27/2014 Suzy Menkes

PARIS — “Oh what a beautiful bag! It’s flat, it’s not fancy, it will fit in all my belongings — until I do some more shopping. Then I’ll buy another. And another!”

Could those have been the thoughts going through the models’ minds Thursday when they opened the Balenciaga show carrying multiple, fancied-up shopping bags? Or was it a witty way for the designer Alexander Wang to acknowledge that luxury houses build their empires on handbags?

“I love the idea that something as simple as a shopping bag can come in croc!” the designer said backstage.

As Cristóbal Balenciaga himself found inspiration for couture hats from fisherman in his native Spain, why not take the same high/low concept for 2014?

This autumn/winter collection has some references to that heritage in fisherman sweaters, although it was tough to tell whether the gleaming and glistening cable stitches were knitted or embossed; and whether a cheery, canary yellow toggle-front jacket, worn with a primary-red lattice of a skirt, was made with old-fashioned stitching or a laser-cut technique.

Only the cute, fluffy, neck-to-wrist cover-ups with crystal sparkles seemed to be the definite product of knitting needles.

The designer said he had elaborated the industrial style of his pre-fall Balenciaga collection — hence the hefty zippers, perhaps in shocking pink and crisscrossing a khaki jacket. The texture story was the message. And there was a real modern glamour when a full-skirted dress, with the rounded shoulders that twirled through the entire collection, was cinched with a taut, shiny belt.

But Mr. Wang is up against two things at Balenciaga: first and foremost, the energy of his eponymous show during New York Fashion Week, when high technology met modern sportswear in a brilliant combination. And there is the long shadow still cast by Nicolas Ghesquière’s tenure at Balenciaga, especially as the French designer will make his debut at Louis Vuitton next week.

Mr. Wang is making quite a good job of presenting Balenciaga as being relevant to the current fashion world. But there is that frustrating feeling that if he had no other commitments, the result would be extraordinary. At this streamlined show he brought nothing exceptional to the runway — except the most glamorous (and don’t even ask the price) shopping bags.

View Runway
2/27/2014 Suzy Menkes

PARIS — “Oh what a beautiful bag! It’s flat, it’s not fancy, it will fit in all my belongings — until I do some more shopping. Then I’ll buy another. And another!”

Could those have been the thoughts going through the models’ minds Thursday when they opened the Balenciaga show carrying multiple, fancied-up shopping bags? Or was it a witty way for the designer Alexander Wang to acknowledge that luxury houses build their empires on handbags?

“I love the idea that something as simple as a shopping bag can come in croc!” the designer said backstage.

As Cristóbal Balenciaga himself found inspiration for couture hats from fisherman in his native Spain, why not take the same high/low concept for 2014?

This autumn/winter collection has some references to that heritage in fisherman sweaters, although it was tough to tell whether the gleaming and glistening cable stitches were knitted or embossed; and whether a cheery, canary yellow toggle-front jacket, worn with a primary-red lattice of a skirt, was made with old-fashioned stitching or a laser-cut technique.

Only the cute, fluffy, neck-to-wrist cover-ups with crystal sparkles seemed to be the definite product of knitting needles.

The designer said he had elaborated the industrial style of his pre-fall Balenciaga collection — hence the hefty zippers, perhaps in shocking pink and crisscrossing a khaki jacket. The texture story was the message. And there was a real modern glamour when a full-skirted dress, with the rounded shoulders that twirled through the entire collection, was cinched with a taut, shiny belt.

But Mr. Wang is up against two things at Balenciaga: first and foremost, the energy of his eponymous show during New York Fashion Week, when high technology met modern sportswear in a brilliant combination. And there is the long shadow still cast by Nicolas Ghesquière’s tenure at Balenciaga, especially as the French designer will make his debut at Louis Vuitton next week.

Mr. Wang is making quite a good job of presenting Balenciaga as being relevant to the current fashion world. But there is that frustrating feeling that if he had no other commitments, the result would be extraordinary. At this streamlined show he brought nothing exceptional to the runway — except the most glamorous (and don’t even ask the price) shopping bags.


Select
SEASONS & CITY