Photos courtesy of Balenciaga
Filling the shoes of someone like Nicolas Ghesquière at a house like Balenciaga is no piece of cake. For Wang's first outing, I found it to be quite an accomplished collection; however, it's not the out of this world, agenda setting show which Nicolas Ghesquière was known for. Wang did not depart much from the traditional volumes and shapes of the house which is a smart move from someone who is beginning to settle in. Still, I would have liked to see him make this collection more his own.
Wang's eponymous label has had a much stronger and clearer point of view. Then again, taking over at Balenciaga would be a tough challenge for anyone, no matter how talented. We grew too attached to Ghesquières' wonders season after season. We saw the house flourish before our eyes over 15 years. It's a harder task than it was for Simons taking over at Dior because Galliano (scandal aside) wasn't at the top of his game when he left, and the heads of Dior wanted a clean slate, Simons just had to bring in his game. Whereas at Balenciaga, everyone couldn't get enough of Nicolas; when he left we were suddenly cut off of fashion heroine. It will take a while to see if Wang can provide that rush again, hopefully a new one.
Even though it was not outstandingly innovative, the collection had some wonderful saleable pieces. The textures and marble-like embroideries were quite beautiful, the cracked effect finish, final fur looks and pants will surely be on fashionistas most wanted lists. Still, I can't help but feel nostalgic when I think about Ghesquières final collections before departing.