Balenciaga's Alexander Wang makes his own mark
New York golden boy Alexander Wang on Thursday stamped his own "footprint" on the fabled Balenciaga label in one of the most keenly anticipated shows of Paris fashion week.
Already among the hottest names in fashion at 29, Wang's ready-to-wear spring/summer 2014 collection followed a well-received February debut for which he delved into the archives to pay tribute to founder Cristobal Balenciaga.
Speaking backstage after the show, he said that having started with "the homage" he was keen to use his second show to express his personality.
"I wanted to... take this season to really start putting some footprint into it, making it relatable to what I thought was important and bringing some of my vocabulary of sportswear into it," he said.
The collection in a largely blue and white dominated palette featured thigh-skimming hemlines along with tiny, high-waisted shorts teamed with midriff-baring cropped tops.
Wang highlighted the "crushed embroidery" on many pieces.
"We loved this idea of something quite organic and uncontrollable so every piece is different from the next," he said.
And he told AFP the prints originated in "fossilised clothes that we found in shorelines that we manipulated and abstracted so it actually became this swirling motif."
Initial reaction on Twitter was broadly positive.
"Emphatically short, relentlessly young," said fashion blog IndyFashion.
"No pants? No problem!" added Wonderland Magazine of jackets worn on their own.
Vogue, UK, saw more Balenciaga than Wang in the collection noting "classic Cristobal shapes" such as cropped and curved jackets and adding that the collection clearly continued in the same "safe territory as the first".
"While finding his feet at the house, he's clearly working within its tried and tested framework: sportswear reimagined in a luxury way and vice versa," it said.
Born in California to Taiwanese parents, Wang launched his own label -- a mix of relaxed chic and streetwise edge -- in 2007 when he was just 23.
The designer is seen as a prodigious talent by the fashion world with coverage of his work often laden with superlatives.
His first Balenciaga collection was "nothing short of masterful", said magazine Harper's Bazaar earlier this year, adding that in person he was "almost supernaturally beautiful".
Wang's arrival at Balenciaga in late 2012 followed the surprise departure after 15 years of Nicolas Ghesquiere, a designer considered to have very much made the house his own.
Francois-Henri Pinault, CEO of PPR, the luxury group that owns Balenciaga in February praised Wang for producing his first collection under huge pressure in just eight weeks.
Wang's Thursday show was one of two expected highlights of the week, along with Hedi Slimane's Monday collection for Saint Laurent.
Nine days of women's ready-to-wear fashion for spring/summer 2014 is due to wrap up on Wednesday.
© 2013 AFP