Fashion Statement: Alexander Wang will bring his own downtown NY cool to Paris
After what felt like aeons of idle and increasingly self-important industry speculation over who would take the top jobs at Dior and Yves Saint Laurent last year, thank goodness for Balenciaga's classy alacrity in announcing designer Nicolas Ghesquière's replacement last week.
The chosen one is New York's foremost cool kid and uptown grunge merchant Alexander Wang, who, since he first appeared on the scene in the late Noughties, has developed his label from down-at-heel to something rather more directional.
His fusion of high and low influences – of civvies and something more like couture, of sci-fi and streetwear – isn't dissimilar to the aesthetic Ghesquière brought to Balenciaga, though Wang's version has been slightly more accessible, slightly less strung out.
In the early days, Wang made the best sloppy jumper and sandblasted, distressed-to-within-an-inch-of-their-lives jeans that money could buy – and they cost more than you thought they would, too. He teamed them with skinny-sleeved, boxily cut suede and leather jackets for a Nineties-influenced but unusually chic take on the rock-chick paradigm. "Model off-duty," Wang called it. And oh, how we tried to emulate it.
But since then, Wang's collections have taken on a more grown-up aspect, blending his classic American sportswear references with strict tailoring, an interest in experimental cuts and a move towards the conceptual: all of which were part of Cristobal Balenciaga's original blueprint for his couture house.
At Wang's spring 2013 show in September, his classically casual pieces came deconstructed and held together with fishing wire so that they seem to float unaided around the body. Further to that, bleached-white ensembles were shown in pitch black and made to glow in the dark.
When it comes to invention and imagination, Balenciaga leads the fashionable field, thanks to the work of Nicolas Ghesquière. The suits there may have let us off tenterhooks by announcing Wang's appointment last week, but breath remains bated as to what exactly his vision for the label will be.
Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas
Life & Style blogs
Ebola outbreak: Survivor William Pooley flown to US to give doctor with virus emergency blood transfusion
Jennifer Lawrence nude pictures leaked: Reddit removes 'The Fappening' board dedicated to sharing naked pictures of celebrities
Tezenis removes 'crime scene' pants from Oxford Street store after backlash over rape connotations
A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
iOS 8 review: not an overhaul, but the iPhone is gradually growing up
- 1 Thailand beach murders: Thai PM suggests 'attractive' female tourists cannot expect to be safe wearing bikinis
- 2 Scottish independence: Learn from Quebec's mistakes and beware of promises. Vote Yes.
- 3 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 4 Revealed after 75 years of secrecy: 'Fifi' the glamorous WW2 special agent who tested British spies' resolve
- 5 Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...
£90 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Science Teacher (mater...
£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for an ...
£22000 - £37000 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: A West Yorkshire School i...