Monday Muse: Alexander Wang’s Luxe, Laid-Back Finale at Balenciaga

Balenciaga Spring 2016

Balenciaga Spring 2016

After three years, Alexander Wang didn’t just cut himself loose from Balenciaga, he let the close run free, too. While his first few collections were definitely cool, they seemed restrained, reserved and well, a little stuffy. Where was the cool downtown girl that walked around in his namesake label? Did streetwear not translate across the Atlantic? Was he being stifled by house codes, big business and French tradition? We’d say yes to all three, because in this, his last collection for the brand, Wang seemed unfettered by expectation. The collection of lingerie-inspired pieces, sport-meets-sexy outerwear and all-white everything weren’t just a swan song, they were the designer’s best collection for Balenciaga yet.

RELATED: Monday Muse: Alexander Wang Takes on Denim & Uniform Dressing

Sure, Wang raised a few eyebrows when he got the appointment, but sales were brisk (though not brisk enough to warrant Wall Street Journal features a la Saint Laurent). Balenciaga became known for techy fabrics and sci-fi collections under Nicolas Ghesquière, who gave the house a clear direction (to the future!). Wang struggled to find his footing, never really settling on anything concrete, other than the marble prints of his debut collection. This time around, he went soft, sending the entire collection out on lace house slippers and crafting soft, flowing pieces from silk and linen. No futurism. No architectural heritage. Wang’s BFFs Bella Heathcote, Riley Keough, Zoë Kravitz walked in the show among his favorite models and it seemed effortless and cool, especially when they came out in sheer anoraks over slipdresses, loungewear-inspired pants and boxer shorts. Boudoir? No, this stuff was made for the streets.

Balenciaga Spring 2016

Balenciaga Spring 2016

“When you know it’s your last anything, you say, ‘Let’s take a risk,’ what do you have to lose?” Wang told Vogue backstage. “At a house that’s known for innovation, I thought, ‘Let’s think about it the opposite way, let’s think about fabrics and shapes that feel supple and simple, but approach them in an artisanal, couture way.'”

The soft, all-white palette helped showcase the relaxed feel of the collection. It was a blend of high fashion and cool street style. Why hadn’t Wang done this from the start? We don’t know, though the brand’s head honchos might. The accessories, including a rouched satin fanny pack, probably won’t pack the punch of the original Le Dix motorcycle bag, but even so, Wang will be a hard act to follow.

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Images courtesy Vogue Runway

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Author:Christopher Luu for Fashion Trends Daily

Christopher Luu is a Fashion Trends Daily Senior Writer and Menswear Editor.