BALENCIAGA AUTUMN/WINTER 2015-16 READY-TO-WEAR PARIS FASHION WEEK

BALENCIAGA AUTUMN/WINTER 2015-16 READY-TO-WEAR PARIS FASHION WEEK

IT was last season that we finally felt there was more of Alexander Wang in the Balenciaga equation. It takes time, of course. Heritage houses demand respect and understanding. But luxury houses too command relevance and newness so as to keep them at their luxurious heights. Tonight there seemed to me a meeting in the middle – a couture take on a street-heroine.

It was prim and ladylike in the sense of tulip skirt silhouettes and strapless bustier dresses – heavily embellished and embroidered in silver strands that were beads and then they were staples. The eye was deceived – it was elegant in all the right places, but up close made to look tough and industrial. Something that was only enhanced by a silver, grey and black palette. But for the most part, it was eveningwear-heavy and a move away from outerwear, though opening looks were stapled and folded cocoon coats.

Brooches, pearls swirling as they dangled from ears, buns in the hair – everything suggested this was what going to a finishing school in the future might look like. And scholarly style came later in scarves tied just so, worn with white shirts.

But it was all cast in an elegantly subversive way – a phrase the designer had referenced ahead of the show, telling WWD, that in addition to many other developments they have a special red-carpet team. Prior to taking her seat for the show Lady Gaga had done her own mini catwalk – and no doubt from this one would be picking pieces to sport on said red carpet.

It was the details that proved to be the most subversive here – hardware decoration executed in embroidery and the vice versa equivalents. Some silhouettes proved a little too challenging, though, with the models struggling to walk in their tulip skirts, but it was a collection that bridged two worlds – be that of Wang and Balenciaga, and that of street and couture.

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