PFW: BALENCIAGA F/W 2014

Is it bad that I very much prefer what Alexander Wang did for this Balenciaga fall/winter collection than what he presented for his own eponymous label back in Brooklyn a couple of weeks ago? Okay, granted, being able to look down the catwalk and see Paris out the window is, for me, much more aesthetically pleasing than being anywhere in Brooklyn, but I don’t think that’s the bias. What Wang shows for this label is just as original in its own way, much more wearable, and is probably more apt to go with things one already has in their wardrobe. One won’t need to do a complete wardrobe makeover to find things here that fit with their personal style.

First reaction, though, is, “Oh dear, stirrup pants are back.” Actually, they’re not quite the same stirrup pants your mother wore. Hers had straps that went inside the shoe and under the foot. These go outside the shoe, which largely presumes one is wearing heels. If those heels happen to exactly match the color of the pants, all the better, but for a couple of looks Wang shows them against white heels which just brought back all kinds of negative fashion flashbacks for a moment. What he’s wanting, though, is a look that takes the leg all the way from the hip to the floor, which has been a strong concept this season. Another option is to make pants whose legs flare enough to come over the shoe, and he does some of that as well.

Getting past the pants, I am totally geeked out by the cable knit stamped leather coats in this collection. I’m told there is some question as to whether they’ll be available for retail sale in the states, but I certainly hope they will. You need a good coat for winter anyway and while we’ve seen dozens this season these are so incredibly unique and fun and soft and different that who wouldn’t want one … in every color? Yes, there are plenty of good ol’ yarn knits as well, and they are very nicely done and very attractive, but which do you think is more likely to stand out in a crowd next winter?

Zippers are another item Wang uses extensively in this collection. I am just going to assume most are meant to be decorative, not functional. Even if they are functional, you really don’t want to play with them. Zipped, the look is dynamic and strong. Unzipped would just look sloppy.

Wang applies his minimalist silhouettes across a very large collection that is full of very wearable options. Some of the latter pieces are a little more futuristic in their tone, and sometimes that can be a bit off-putting, but here I really like them. Particularly, on some belted leather tunics Wang has employed a particular type of rubber embroidery that, on one hand brings a traditional aesthetic to the piece, while at the same time delivers a contemporary coolness that is fresh and different. Little touches like this go on through the entire collection, making it obvious that Wang was paying just as much attention to the line here as he was his own.

Thigh high boots make as big a splash here as Wang’s riding boots did in Brooklyn. While the styling on these is not quite as unique, and we’ve certainly seen plenty of similar styles this season, the look really augments the clothes well and emphasizes just how seriously one needs to start shopping now for a pair of boots like this to add to their wardrobe.

I can’t think of a better way to start the morning than with Alexander Wang’s Balenciaga collection even if the rain was ruining the hand-printed invitations. These are great clothes that one will look forward to adding to their wardrobe this fall.

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