Tag Archives: Balenciaga

And I didn’t even Climax…

Shock and awe isn’t a new tactic in the fashion world. In fact, shock and awe is the axis at which the planet of fashion revolves around. This is especially true concerning the rise and fall of a creative or an artistic director of any well-known establishment, house or label. In the spring of 2011, fashion headlines everywhere ran with the story of Christophe Decarnin parting ways, after only five years, with the luxurious house of Balmain. The aftermath of that colossal earthquake news was his replacement, Olivier Rousteing. A young, fresh faced twenty something year kid who spent a few years assisting Decarnin. A virtual unknown. And the universe buzzed. Would Rousteing triumphantly rise to the occasion or would he fail? Would he push the label farther than Decarnin or send it plummeting to its death? So many questions, doubts and fears. But in his short stint at Balmain, Rousteing has managed to surprisingly prove most of his critics wrong. He not only has kept the label afloat but assisted with its continued rise in popularity with the hot, young and rich crowd. And unlike another young designer*, suddenly thrust into a gigantic pair of shoes at Balenciaga, Rousteing found his footing instantly and silently, gained the necessary momentum needed to push Balmain into a dominating and influential position. His creative approach, a cautious mixture of preserving the house’s decadent aesthetic and Decarnin’s flamboyant exuberance was an instantaneous hit. And like Sarah Burton, Rousteing was unofficially crowned the Midas of fashion, turning everything he touched into gold. (Burton was named creative director at Alexander McQueen in May of 2010, after the designer’s tragic death)

Fast forward to Paris Fashion Week. On September 25, 2014 the fashion crowd and critics gathered, eagerly awaiting the golden boy’s latest sensation, his spring Pret-a-Porter 2015 collection. Heavily influenced by pop culture and the red carpet sirens he frequently dresses, Rousteing’s most recent work is…dismal and unoriginal. There was no brilliance. No boldness. No opulence. From the sleek bondage influenced pieces, the overexposed body parts, to the impeccable tailoring, the runway told a tale of an unexcitable story. It read boring, had a sort of rushed assembled-like quality and appeared as though he designed it for a lone individual more or less, not for the masses. He is quoted saying the influential muse behind his spring collection is pop starlet Rihanna and while there is no harm in having an inspirational figure as muse, perhaps Rousteing should have put more thought into using her as a creative point of origin rather than the finality as the birth of his collection. In the September issue of US Harper’s Bazaar, he said, “I think fashion is like sex…when you do the show, that’s the orgasm.” Well sir, if the Paris show was our infamous romp in the sack, I am one (of many) dissatisfied lover.

 *Next post, I’ll talk about Alexander Wang’s spring collection at Balenciaga!

 

 

For more of the collection, check out www.style.com!

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Alexander Wang, H&M and the ghost of Nicolas Ghesquiere

The announcement came early Sunday morning evoking excitement everywhere: Alexander Wang for H&M, coming November 2014. And the masses rejoiced. The internet appeared titillated with the news of Swedish mega retailer, Hennes & Mauritz, a brand synonymous with affordable fashion for the masses with its latest collaboration. But just below the surface of the euphoria lies still, the unexamined story of the silent but deadly departure of Nicolas Ghesquière and the appointment of wonderkid Alexander Wang at the prestigious house of Balenciaga. It was indeed a strange selection, questioned by many of fashion’s elite. Wang, known for his ultra-modern designs overlaid with youthful freshness, wasn’t seen as the ideal candidate by outsiders. Would he be able to carry out the vision and produce marketable fashion without losing the Balenciaga touch? Ghesquière exceled at, was a genius at, creating what the public wasn’t even aware it wanted. He moved the brand into mainstream fashion, increased its visibility, and as sales skyrocketed, he brought a sense of stability and practicality to the label. For 15 years, Balenciaga blossomed under Ghesquière as his designs were critically acclaimed. But behind closed doors, a storm brewed. Constant clashes with management partners and battles to maintain his creative identity without comprising the label ultimately took its toll on the designer. And in November 2012, finally at the end of a journey he saw months in the making concluded and Ghesquière “abruptly” ended his union with Balenciaga.  His appointment at the house of Louis Vuitton in late 2013 conveyed the impression that the lengthy chapter of a horrid fairytale had ended. No such luck for the genius designer as a 2014 trial date has been set in the case of Balenciaga Vs Ghesquière. How does all of this tie into the collaboration of Alexander Wang and H&M? One could pounder. My speculation is Wang, quite aware of the enormous shoes he’s  stepped into and the tainted stench of the ugly divorce of his predecessor, may actually be in over his head at Balenciaga.  His acceptance of the contract with H&M is a creative outlet much needed in his world. Make no mistake, on his own, Wang is a dynamic designer. This current partnership will bring his label and name to places unreachable by the prestige of Balenciaga. And It will definitely create more financial freedom, stability and newer, richer ventures for Wang. I believe he needs this collaboration,  in order not to sacrifice his gift, his ability to create and career aspirations. The need to keep his identity separate from Balenciaga is a must if he is going to survive.  My sincerest hope is Wang doesn’t suffer the same fate as Ghesquière, because as any artist can attest to, there is no greater fear than being boxed in, closed up into a tiny space and being controlled by invisible strings of a larger than life puppet master. Being instructed on what, how, when and where to create. For a true artist, the freedom to dream, think, process, execute on our own terms is the very purest form of creation, the very breathe of life to our souls.  Good luck and Godspeed Alexander Wang, you will need it in the future.