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.
Life & Style blogs
Who is Teresa Fidalgo? Debunking the fake ghost story that's got Instagram spooked
Planes go hybrid-electric in important step to greener flight
The 10 Best Scotch Whiskies
Boxing Day sales: From Asos to Harrods, the best fashion deals
Victoria Beckham's clothing sales double to £30 million in one year
- 2 Exclusive: Abusers using spyware apps to monitor partners reaches 'epidemic proportions'
- 3 Andy Murray takes to Twitter to show off his Christmas jumper
- 4 Margaret Thatcher 'expressed fears of Asian rising' at Anglo-Irish summit in 1984
Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...
£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...
£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...