Tag: balenciaga

THE TOP FIVE RESORT 2014 COLLECTIONS

11. BALENCIAGA with alexander wang now in place, the real show begins. from the first stunning showing of balenciaga, to this resort collection- you see a thorough understanding of what the house of balenciaga is at the core. while i admit my own hesitation, i really am blown away at how seamless the transition from ghesquiere to wang has shown itself. while the aesthetic of this collection is wang in many forms, the fluid lines are completely balenciaga. and not just as a house, but as cristobal- who founded the house in 1914. even the backdrop for the collection is ultra modern and cool with the evident presence of wang. one aspect of look books that makes them feel a bit one dimension is the inability to see all angle of the pieces- but the multiple video screens alters that hindrance completely. genius! as the house of balenciaga carefully crafts a re-direction while under wang, it seems as though a fitting mind was cast. i will say though, keeping ghesquiere’s recent interviews about creative restraints at the house of baleciaga are still very much on my mind. that said, wang is of the new school where the demands of designing are understood. as fashion continues to spiral unward, it true creatives for a loop. as if executing your own vision isn’t pressure enough, whole industry’s and executives are holding onto your every word, ready to reject at a moments notice. with two collections under his belt and another on it’s way come september, wang appears to be getting into the groove rather nicely. i think it will be interesting to see how accessories are developed under wang, as the house has remained true to it’s fashion apparel direction more in the past several years. accessories are a powerful market in global retail and wang understands this all too well with his own namesake line which has all the fly girls fleeing to the marble. my top favorite for the resort 2014 season.

22. JASON WU in the crop of designers that were dubbed as the new asian, alexander wang along with jason wu continue to dominate through sophistication and modern vision. even during the resort pre-season, the wu label is still taking every effort to expand through variations of style that separate the major seasons from the pre. i love the vacation feel of this collection and even alongside other collections from this resort season, the design elements and choices made are completely fresh. it’s young and effortless- which is what resort is all about. stream lined and minimal where needed, wu understands his own design voice as well as his ability to balance the drama with the undercurrent. it has become stronger and stronger season by season, as he now defends what american fashion is- influenced. influenced in that, so many elements play a role. you see that there is no distinction as what is seen for other fashion capitals like paris or milan. american fashion has now evolved through the vision of designers like jason wu, and now what is represented is a full scope of design sensibility that is much more suited for the melting pot that is not only the new york fashion scene, but the american fashion scene. while there manages to be some stragglers within the new york fashion capital that show, wu is one designer that has take the challenge by the horns. dressing such powerful figures like michelle obama almost worked against him during the beginning stages, as his work started to feel one dimensional. that space of struggle is over, because now what is left is multi-dimension.

33. 3.1 PHILIP LIM the deconstruction of the female silhouette is becoming much more relaxed with each season, as seen in this collection. there appears to be a greater alliance of androgyny in high fashion, which will eventually segue into the mass market. even as a culture, the line of masculinity and femininity are completely blurred. people are seeming to grasp the concept of clothes being a mask. while this concept can serve for interesting choices or representation, there are always those few uses that fuck shit up. color blocked, sharp and forward in style nature- the collections that lim produces are some of my favorites in both menswear and womenswear all together. while i love drama, i think lim has an effortless ability to represent modernity and function in a way that allows high fashion to merge with function. this idea is absolutely important for our modern times- everything is a hybrid. precise and clean is what this collection is for me; it provides a strong visual that is pixel perfect for fashion editorial. this appears to be fashion of the future in my mind, which is why i’ve loved lim’s work. it’s progressive but not to the point where it isolates the present. well balanced, though im not one for metallics, i thought it was done in the right way here. as he took home the CFDA award for accessories this year, lim’s bags also made a slight cameo in the collection now appearing in backpack form, which allows his pashli bag greater dimension and versatility. much like wu and wang, lim too has been referred to as new asian, here in america on the fashion scene and these three have remained consistent through growth both in business and design.

44. BARBARA BUI now it may be that anais mali is the model in the collection look book, but hey- a great model can very well sell a collection to the masses. here, either anais or bui sold me. the selection of collections i’ve opted to write about are more aligned with my own personal taste level. i understand that these lines, silhouettes and looks aren’t suitable for all consumers, but still- the point of this space is to create and identify my taste level as jeremy dante. this collection did that for me. while some collections were minimal, they felt too minimal and were otherwise categorized as boring in my own mind. but here there was a thoughtful simplicity, in fact, these collections i’ve selected as my top five for the resort season share that level of simplicity. barbara bui’s first collection was shown in 1987, after bui decided that she would leave a literary education for the world of high fashion. along the lines of hybridity much like wu, wang or lim- bui often combines asian and western ideas. she cites her design philosophy as laid back elegance and this resort collection hosts those ideals perfectly. with her design philosophy also citing rock energy and ultra feminine sensitivity, this collection plays up to the idea of masculinity. the confidence, in your face type of energy that is often associated with masculinity. beyond anything, it’s smart design that is mindful of forward thinking and strong style. i love the variation of images throughout the look book, seeing as most labels stick with studio images. the bui label is a contender this season as one of the stronger collections.

55. THEYSKEN’S THEORY the design approach to olivier theysken’s style at theory is something i’ve been excited about for a while now. there is an understated presence that he holds with complete calm and control. what’s particularly powerful about his design approach is the concept of theme. i will always regard olivier’s time at nina ricci as a real coming out- his vision at that house was too much for them to handle. more often then probably even necessary, i mention his work at nina ricci because it was such a fantastical moment in fashion. to see that olivier’s work now exists with theory is interesting, because it almost feels subdued or restricted. this resort collection was created with the idea of essentials in mind. every look was intended to host some kind of essential and for the most part that was done. what i love about theysken’s theory is that it’s always a collection that i can come to and find greater things about. olivier is a very foward thinker when it comes to design and he’s often seeing something that’s much more theoretical of style. it’s intellectuality that allows his work to exist beyond simple design or style. though at the lower end of this pre-season’s list, i do feel that this collection is a true representation of where fashion is, as well as where it’s going. it’s strong but soft, masculine and feminine- quiet and loud. the one common resonance of all five collections in my mind is hybridity. while i’ve take time to stray away from runway in an effort to better dissect style as it relates to culture, one element that will tie everything together here is the evidence or influence of ideas merging. that merging is what makes up our culture, especially here in america. all five collections also represent america, whether it’s alexander wang coming from new york to conquer paris with balenciaga or lim and wu dressing new american females across the nation- all collections are american through their hybridity. this merge is the future, it’s where we are and a large piece of where we’re going.

visit style.com for full coverage of the 2014 resort pre-season
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THE REINVENTION OF BALENCIAGA

balenciaga

it’s interesting to look at the ways in which brands are redefined & mass marketed in today’s global industry of fashion- balenciaga being one of the hottest on the block. though this rise in temperature is nothing new for the french based, spanish heritage label, the american whose been cast in the role of game changer at the house definitely has our attention. fashion school drop out, alexander wang is the new installment at balenciaga and is beginning to show through the labels design direction and now through advertising. anyone who knows about re-branding or re-invention knows it’s not an overnight process. wang’s understanding of street style & the merging of high style have proven to be a successful level of execution that is completely necessary in today’s fashion market. as a designer, you wear many hats- and we’re not talking millinery. you have to be a public figure, a celebrity, an artist, a business man and a public speaker among many other smaller or sub-roles within larger roles, im sure. headed toward the lane of today’s design superstars, like marc jacobs or karl lagerfeld; wang understands the importance in balance of beauty & business, which makes him a noted, as well as valuable asset.

what’s even more alluring in the discussion of balenciaga are the after thoughts of it’s own page turning history. an abrupt ending of one chapter & a jaw-dropping entry into the next had us all wondering what went wrong. the awe inspiring star power & design innovation that balenciaga became through the creative vision of nicholas ghesquière was nothing short of fashion genius. since that abrupt ending, and wang’s installment, ghesquière has opened up about his departure. exposing creative frustrations & lack of business know-how at the label. all this and one has to wonder- how can creativity prevail? most certainly, the house of balenciaga was thrust into modernity, shit- the house was thrust into the future and ultimately resulted in other houses following suit. there once was a tumblr account, which conveniently vanished from cyberspace, but was hailed by fashion kids & interestingly appeared before the announced departure of ghesquière; it reminded us of how thoroughly the house and ghesquière really have set the trends, and how other fashion houses followed suit- even years after balenciaga put them on their runway.

the history of balenciaga as a house, as well as it’s founding father, cristobal balenciaga are very interesting to compare and contrast. cristobal himself shyed away from the spotlight, he had no interest in popularized aesthetics. in fact, he was the opposite of christian dior. dior’s new look was rivaled with balenciaga’s fluid lines- streamlined and linear are how his work has often been described. cristobal murdered the fashion scene, debuting new silhouettes that redefined the ways that women could dress up to feel beautiful. these days, fashion has become too political. i’ll use the example of american vogue- you understand that only key players will land the cover & through negotiation or business strategy. that’s what fashion is today, the creative component is looked at secondary. the business angle is what allows or distracts from how far a label will go. balenciaga, in my mind, didn’t seem to have this problem. an unmistakably powerful combination, ghesquière for balenciaga ushered in a new era where it became about the clothes again. much to our dismay, this happened despite ghesquière’s own unhappiness there. imagine, if his legacy can be birthed even through frustration, what would happen should he be in a space of calm? in an environment where he was free to create, without restraint. inarguable is the legacy of balenciaga and now is an interesting point of re-invention.

following wang’s somewhat demur, or thoughtfully controlled debut during the FW13/14 show season, we now get our first look at the label’s latest advertising campaign, wang’s first at balenciaga. i loved the collections darkness & appreciated the use of texture. the cracked leather, the simulation of woodgrain- it was all very chic, but very wang. i struggled with the idea that balenciaga would remain as innovative as it had been while under the guidance of ghesquière, but then again- would it be a new era if we were to stay in that lane? would these collections by wang hinge too closely the aesthetics of his own namesake new york collections? how well will both differ? as a fashion school drop out, could wang pull it off with technical knowledge and understanding of silhouette? does he understand the format thoroughly enough to break it? now looking at the campaign, it seems as though he’s moving into the right direction, but even through the lens of steven klein and the anonymous backshot of kristen mcmenamy- you’re still left wondering. it’s the kind of marketing mentality that indeed keeps us wondering.

it’s pulling us in, whether we like it or not because we want to find out what will happen next. comparable to chanel, since  karl lagerfeld loves a good greyscaled image set, some might find the comparison too dull. for a name like wang or a name like balenciaga. wang’s 35 piece collection appeared a much more private mannered runway presentation. you felt the sense of change as you now sense in this campaign, yet you’re left longing for more. the hint of fluidity in silhouette makes me want to see more of the campaign; the palette for the collection was rather controlled as well- it leads me to believe that this elements are thought of. it’s all under control. the level of publicity given, the level of access given, the level of visibility seen from the clothes to the model. it’s all carefully under wraps. but will this prove to be a winning combination? how is the heritage and future both simultaneously being represented? no doubt, the ending of balenciaga is nowhere near- but now is where wang has to make it count. it seems as though he’s sticking to what he knows. black & white, it’s faultless. he’s played with texture heavily, but none of that is evident in the campaign, as yet. the referencing of the archives is present in the collection, but again, not in the campaign. how does this image represent that re-invention, that sense of ‘this is balenciaga’; more importantly, how does this create greater self distinction between balenciaga, a leader in innovation, and it’s other competitive counterparts? we’re watching and waiting, something tells me that something awaits behind that door.

GHESQUIÈRE FOR BALENCIAGA: 1997-2012

effective today, nicholas ghesquiere at the house of balenciaga will be no more. after 15 years of highly influential work at one of fashion’s most acclaimed labels, it was a complete shot to read that nicholas ghesquiere would part ways with french fashion house, which he brought to the forefront of innovation & glamour futurism for the last decade, plus. untouchable through the 2000’s, balenciaga has become a name so synonymous with innovation & unparalleled imagination that it seemed to surpass the boundary of our present day & times. this direction that has become so closely associated with the house of balenciaga in today’s industry is all thanks to the work of ghesquiere. as a fashion house, cristobal balenciaga showed his first collection in 1937. the influence of balenciaga, the man, is still seen in many of fashion’s most creative entities, most noteably the house of givenchy. a rarity of a fashion persona, balenciaga resisted many forms of major media & had become underrated for the work he had influenced into the mainstream, with competitor christian dior. while the house had gone dormant from 1968-1986, the resurgence of the houses fashion heritage thrived & was resurrected throughout the 80’s and 90’s, leading to ghesquiere’s creative role in 1997.

just a week before the new of ghesquiere’s departure his the internet and our jaws hit the floor, i had been made aware of a blog that went to identify the true & present influence of balenciaga. titled, balenciagadiditfirst, that tumblr space is now closed. though unable to be viewed at this time, the space really clarified the level of creativity in which the house of balenciaga has lead the way with for longer than a decade. from groundbreaking campaigns, to insanely beautiful footwear- balenciaga as a house is untouchable. but in the last season or two, many had made comments about lackluster concepts, the feeling of departure felt in design & how much longer ghesquiere would be in place. initially, when he was brought in to lead the label, ghesquiere was hailed for his apprenticed work with jean paul-gaultier & also boasts the skill of being self taught- a rare quality that isn’t often able to draw such credibility as he ghesquiere has now proven & defined through the years. the pairing of ghesquiere with the house of balenciaga was and will remain a true revolution in the world of design. never had a house seen such poignant revitalization that both honored & upgraded a label’s heritage as it had under the guidance of ghesquiere, who has proven himself to be a true gem of a visionary.

i sit, thinking of where fashion is headed- what will be left of the vision and imaginative re-workings of years past through these great designers who have been carefully selected as creative directors. these individuals have greater power than we realize or acknowledge in the present day. if you even look at the archived campaigns of the house of balenciaga; the evolution of design & the tested boundary of what could and would be is something of a fantasy. you can review such an archive on the official balenciaga website, which fundamentally outlines the level of growth ghesquiere had as an artist working with the house. to think that clothes like these are now in closets, walked runways & were photographed for glossy magazines around the globe is that of true artistic execution. this fulfilled potential, i feel, that ghesquiere was able to produce during his tenure at balenciaga is nowhere nearly as valuable now, as it will be in the future. what we have witnessed through his work at balenciaga will live forever, with no expiration or proper replacement.

in speaking of replacements, onward motion of artists & where certain paths lead- there has been speculation that ghesquiere will head of the planned resurrection of schiaparelli, which has lay dormant since 1954. historically, schiaparelli is widely regarded as the most prominent fashion figure between the two world wars. she was a rival of coco chanel. this alone lays such an interesting groundwork for a label to reemerge & with balenciaga’s ownership coming by way of the house of gucci, under PPR- it’s very possible that ghesquiere’s evolution is just scratching the surface. as the internet becomes abuzz with news of american deisgner alexander wang taking the helm at balenciaga, we await an official announcement from the house of balenciaga, while my heart weighs heavily with doubt of whether wang can deliver & execute on the level ghesquiere has. the context of great design as it relates to america, in comparison to paris- forget it. there is no competition. as an american, while i recognize the creative potential of my country; im also a realist & recognize that fashion lives & dies in paris, france. this is fact, not an opinion. while i have observed alexander wang’s own collections, both the alexander wang mainline & his T collections- i don’t feel that he is equipped to take on the immense value of a fashion house that holds as much weight as balenciaga. his knack for turning ugly into beautiful or awkward into interesting is, yes, a skill- but how will this coincide with the work & heritage of balenciaga. a failure in this regard could alter fashion & wang’s own career forever. this is dangerous territory & not at all considered a game.

while time, and the planned announcement, will tell whether or not this is a fitting match; my doubts become stacked. i absolutely doubt wang’s ability to go from american fashion house in new york, to the big leagues of paris with a house that had been founded in 1914. while cristobal balenciaga had showed his first collection in 1973- the house & his boutique was first opened in 1918. wang’s reference of grunge compared to ghesquiere’s reinterpretation of the spanish renaissance- are you kidding? how can this even be considered in the same league? the archives of balenciaga, considering only the work of ghesquiere in the last five years, compared to wang’s entire career; wang is devoured. there is not competition. this is like dinosaurs battling new born babies. my doubts are heavy, i have no hesitation in admitting or articulating this as so. when they spoke of the mayan calendar ending in 2012; this could very well be the change that has been foretold. a new era has begun and there’s not telling where any of this will end up. [source]

a look back at some of my favorite baleciaga campaigns through the years

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visit balenciaga for an extended retrospective look at campaigns
during nicholas ghesquiere’s tenure from 1998-2012

collection images: balenciaga, resort

always at the forefront of modernized design & cutting edge womenswear, balenciaga presents their 2012 resort collection. i loved that the collection presented was almost an opposition of what we’ve seen from other designers. in palette, the collection hosted a range of warm tones while visors & sleek, masculine silhouettes remained a headlining element. while many other labels have presented cool palette notes & contrasts of yellow, the hosue balenciaga seemed to bask in the sun with use of orange & contrasts of brown. while the masculine edge of last season has still lingered a bit in concept, the collection is still distinctly feminine.  overall, the collection is a strong effort in the pre-season. im always excited to see what

imagesource | style

fall prêt-à-porter, paris: balenciaga

nicolas ghesquière continues to bring the house of balenciaga to the forefront of fashion foward design, delivering complex concepts & jaw dropping glamour. while last season seen the balenciaga label playing with the big boys, channeling masculine edge & furthering the trend of androgyny. this season, those same concepts are focused on while design lines become elongated, print swirled throughout & innovative design was seen on the collections coats. from multi-colored collars to clean combinations of leather, wool & fishnet- the collection manages to introduce a gang of design while balancing all details creatively & imaginatively. as few models walked the runway with colored uni-brows- the FW11 collection really touched on another level of fashion design that use intricate details as well as new aged minimalism. a beautiful collection, though i hope a fitting campaign image comes of this. stunning design, incredibly inspiring- balenciaga is the illest. 

imagesource | vogue.fr

menswear collections: balenciaga, fall

the empire that is the house of balenciaga is creatively directed by nicolas ghesquière, whom was appointed head designer in 1997 & has since allowed the company to become resurrected in the world of high end fashion. much of the balenciaga legacy remains strong in it’s heritage of womenswear while the concept of menswear seems a bit odd & at times forgotten. as seen in the collection above, not much though goes into the menswear collections as they do the womenswear & here it is painfully clear. a drab palette ws accented with akward footwear & little to no innovation through design, elements which are often found in the lables womenswear collections. i would like to see that something much more strong be made of the menswear division of the balenciaga label; a brand as closely associated with progression shouldn’t allow such a lacking collection to represent it’s heritage. with reports of plans to increase their commercial presence here in the states, im hoping menswear will be an area concentrated on further development. a very disappointing collection & im rather sad that a fitting collection was not created.

imagesource | style

collection images: balenciaga, pre-fall

transitioning from masculine aesthetics we seen for their SS11 collection, the balenciaga label redirects their creative vision to that of floral accents. colored fur, geometric color blocking, leather & metallics were all conceptualized for the collection, which sees a wide range of silhouettes. while the last three seasons of balenciaga have been much more futuristic, the concepts seen for the labels pre-fall set seem to be much more grounded & classic. the collection also includes a stunning set of handbags, leggings, heels & among the greatest elements of the collection, i love the coats. the crazed floral backdrop allows enough mental intrusion while not forcefully pushing florals. a clear direction, always an outstanding show of design & style. im greatly anticipating the balenciaga show in paris for FW11. but until then, this is the little taste we have to hold us over.

imagesource | style