Style: Alexander Wang for Balenciaga AW13

With the gaze of the world on him Thursday, Alexander Wang followed in Raf Simons’ footsteps and showed his critics that a minimalist young streetwear designer can breathe life into one of Paris’s most venerable couture houses. The collection of classic, tailored pieces has received a warm welcome, with the New York Times proclaiming that Balenciaga is, “in good hands.”

Balenciaga AW13 Alexander Wang

As the models stepped out onto a cracked marble runway, it may well have been a metaphor for the way Wang has lightly woven his individual aesthetic into the design house, which after 15 under the direction of Nicolas Ghesquiere was at something of a cross roads. If Wang hasn’t made a drastic turn, he has taken a confident first step in right direction.

The 29-year-old American designer presented a highly polished collection that clearly referenced the label’s history yet never seemed retro. Taking the typical Balenciaga mono-chrome colour scheme and strong silhouette, Wang added patches of fur and asymmetric lines for a sharp, futuristic look that can fairly be described as a modern classic.

Balenciaga AW13 Alexander Wang

Wang has long been one of my favourite designers thanks to his ability to create grungy minimalist pieces that still retain a certain femininity, at a price point that young women can actually realistically afford (check out his pieces on The Outnet for some bargains).  By placing him at the helm of Balenciaga, PPR have made a clever business decision by anticipating that he can bring that certain wearability to the house. The dresses, tops, trousers and skirts showed clean lines and a determined precision, that retained that couture elegance but are sure to appeal to a much wider audience: attracting a hoard of younger women to become loyal fans and hopefully for PPR, customers.

Style: Haizhen Wang at London Fashion Week – Fifth element gets some AW13 urban realness

Haizen Wang - Look 1

Guest post by Caner Daywood


Walking around Somerset House during London Fashion Week can make even the most humble fashionista feel like they possess Rihanna-esque stardom with the constant throngs of picture-taking paps, street-style bloggers and journalists crowding the place. So walking to the last show at the BFC Show Space for Haizhen Wang’s AW13 collection was like approaching a hornet’s nest with swarms of paps going wild at the sight of the glam-squad fashionista crew in their last endeavour for ultra-vogue-dom. The reason for this pandemonium-chic becomes instantly understandable if you take a look at Haizhen Wang’s work and ever since he won the Fashion Fringe award last year his name is huge . And with Vitamin Water on tap, masses of people vying for seats, bright lights ready, paps prepped, the industrial tones of factory work (remixed by Andy Turner) started to crash out across the runway and the last catwalk show finally began (only fractionally – or should that be fashionably- late).

Haizen Wang Look 2

Haizhen’s collection was amazing and smart in the  way that each part of the music, visors and dark futuristic fashion seemed to fit his vision for AW13 which I  too could visualize and felt included in. Haizhen had  such a unique Gothic , edgy interpretation for his AW13 collection which highlighted some of the other key trends across LFW AW13 shows, such as dynamic layering,  visor headpieces and bold structural outerwear. The whole collection had a certain end of the world, new wave  futuristic feel with the  visor-mesh headpieces from our wonderful chum Maria Piana (whose wonderful warrior jewellery I have gushed about previously) set against the industrial clangs of the textile machines used in the music and the unusual  architectural structure to Haizhen’s layering.

Haizen Wang - super layering

Admittedly the sleeping bag coats will never be for everyone’s taste, however their impression of volume and weight juxtaposed against the puffy, airy nature of the duffle material lusciously layered upon each other showed a great eye for architect and  had a strong visual impact  on the runway.  I likened many of his looks like this to the iconic fashions of Jean-Paul Gaultier in the futuristic 90s film, Fifth Element. If you haven’t seen it a) what is wrong with you? and b) go and watch it now for the brilliant way Jean Paul Gaultier both layers garments inventively on Bruce Willis and exposes flesh seductively at the same time with Milla Jovovich.

Even the leather biker jacket  was updated by Haizhen as he added some depth to his collections’ muted tones with a dusty red bustress shape for his leather jacket.  Although black is huge for AW13 – which is a bit strange to say as black is one of those timeless colours that is always ‘in’ however it is even more ‘in’ next season – Haizhen sliced through reds, greens and cobalt blues to give some attitude and industrial accents to his outerwear, as shown below.

Haizen Wang - look 4Haizen Wang look 5

The statement finale piece for the collection consisted of a metal bodice worn under ribbed  sleeveless jacket with a silky leg-slit skirt . This last look was truly fantastic because it symbolised the essence of Wang’s entire collection in as much as clothes can match the evolving nature of the city’s architecture and for that reason we must always be  ready for what the future holds and must mould our clothes to the city’s urban nature.

Haizen Wang - metalic finish

 AW13 gets us all ready for the future to come which can sometimes be a scary thing, especially if you just caught Chanel 4’s Utopia which I was hooked on.  But for the present London sashays the fashion baton elegantly to our glamorous Milanese partners to see what Italy has to offer. Suffice to say Haizen Wang’s  AW13 urban soldiers seem to be ready for anything . Are you?

Style: London Fashion Week AW13: Fashion Scout’s “Ones To Watch” and the Zeynep Tosun AW13 Show

Zeynep Tosun opening shot

February. Forget Valentine’s Day cringe hype – this month is all about the other three little words – LONDON FASHION WEEK. No need to bring chocolates or presents just make sure you are immaculately attired in your vision of “fashion” and definitely equipped with an iPhone, camera, cigarettes and that ubiquitous fashion ‘blue steel’ glare *practices in the mirror one more time*.

side effts of cipro

I was lucky enough to attend a couple of the shows hosted by FASHION SCOUT at the Freemasons Hall and found them so thrilling and evocative that I had to share my thoughts with you. The first show I visited was the catwalk collections of the three exciting, emerging designers YeaShin Kim, Patrick Li and Yulia Kondranina who were labelled as Fashion Scout’s “Ones To Watch”. YeaShin Kim was the first to display her designs which were creative, whimsical and exquisitely colourful with an excellent attention to detail, not to mention flamboyant and awesome hats like this one below.

YeaShin Kim Hat

YeaShin managed to mix several fabrics, 60s style inspiration and clashing patterns with these fantastical hats which enhanced rather than distracted from each look. She expertly ensured that none of her looks felt overwhelmed by her explosive use colour or style which is an extremely hard thing to do, and definitely something to applaud.

The next to parade their collection was Patrick Li whose use of geometric patterns and unique folding/ layering of garments was subtle, sleek and elegant. Although in mostly dark hues in comparison to the vibrancy of colour by YeaShin Kim, Li found a way to add some sparkle to his simple dresses with the sprinklings of glitter brilliantly adorning the layered folds and cutaway in the dresses which was innovatively done and well executed.

Patrick Li Glitter look

The final designer to showcase at “Ones To Watch” was Yulia Kandranina who was my favourite of this show because Yulia’s collection seemed to me the most visually provocative, contemporary and design-led. The artistic way this Russian designer used fringing was superb as shown below with this great dress/jacket piece – N.B obviously to be worn with towering heels so as not to have slip over the waterfalling tendrils of white strings.

OTW - Yulia fringing

Yulia then followed this simple monochrome fringing with intricate, lattice weaved fringing in flashes of brilliant colour which accentuated the beauty of the design and it’s showmanship whilst also complimenting the contours of the female figure, as shown in the close up below with my blurry iPhone camera skills.

OTW Yulia look - close upOTW - colourful fringing

A quick Itsu lunch, Sobranie cigarette and iPhone charge later I was privileged to attend the fantastic show for Zeynep Tosun’s AW13 collection. Zeynep Tosun is the name on the tip of everyone’s tongue at the moment and this showcase of her beautiful, resplendent work definitely made me start yapping my big gob about how fantastic her design, vision and pieces were.

Zeynep Tosun AW13

Tosun took the great staple trend of luxe leather and embellished it with decadent gold, a smart use of organza, a splash of sequins and even garnered outfits with some Victorian style neck ruffles. This was a sensational homage to baroque art/fashion and the epitome of style decadent and indulgence. Gahh I just love a good embellishment – who doesn’t!

Zeynep tosun collarZeynep Tosun Leather

It was the perfect way that Zeynep intermingled velvet, digital, graphic swirly patterns and even sheer and velvet into one whole seamless collection, that still managed to have a uniform voice of OPULENCE and style, which really cemented her name in my mind as a fashion force to take note of. For my shaky but still viewable video of Zeynep’s show take a look here –

Till the next fashion show/moment – CD xo (@BowTieBoy_CD)