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 and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £20,000 - £60,000

    £20000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Telesales Team Leader

    £18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Ashdown Group: Linux Systems Engineer - Linux, Windows, Cloud - Central London

    £40000 - £48000 per annum + 10% bonus & benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Engin...

    Recruitment Genius: Quality Inspector

    £20000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

    Day In a Page

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

    Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
    Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

    Aviation history is littered with grand failures

    But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

    Fortress Europe?

    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
    Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

    Never mind what you're wearing

    It's what you're reclining on that matters
    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence