Saturday, 17 August 2013


There have been a series of high-profile shake-ups in the fashion industry recently. It began with John Galliano's infamous anti-semitic rant which saw him replaced as creative director of Dior, and ended with Nicholas Ghesquière's decision to abandon his role at the helm of Balenciaga. In both cases it wasn't the departures that were startling, it was their chosen replacements that really grabbed headlines. The don of minimalism, Raf Simons, was chosen to take over Dior - a huge surprise considering that his streamlined approach to fashion design could not have been further from Galliano's dramatic, extravagant collections. After that, Balenciaga announced their decision to appoint Alexander Wang as their new creative director; a shocking decision, considering Wang's relative lack of experience. However, these two changes propelled the world of high-fashion into the realms of a chic new minimalism - by incorporating textural qualities and scarce prints, the two men are redefining the way that we look at clothes. 

Although Wang has only shown two collections for the house so far (A/W 2013 and his S/S 2014 Resort collection), the designer's vision for the brand is crystal clear. For example, there is focus on sculpture - curved shoulders and peplums feature heavily, and even the evening dresses skim over the body as opposed to clinging to it. The clothes themselves are almost oversized but never in an unflattering way - the jumpers are made to appear stiff in the sense that they act almost as an exoskeleton. 
The collection also included what is slowly becoming Wang's signature print - from the floors of the runway to the Balenciaga website, the black-and-white cracked marble print was omnipresent. There were several variations of the print - for example, on a white jumper (pictured above) the print looked almost like cracked plaster, whereas when it was shown on evening dresses and jackets, the fabric used made the clothing look almost irridescent, adding a touch of glamour. 
What is truly encouraging is the level of success that both designers have had - a success which seems to indicate that high-fashion is looking more towards this new, more elegant take on minimalism as opposed to spending money on trend pieces. It also means that more and more designers are emerging with their own take on minimalism, proving that it is not a one-dimensional concept and, more importantly, that minimalism needn't be boring. 

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