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July 28 2014

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45 posts tagged "Alexander Wang"

EXCLUSIVE: Alexander Wang Spills the Secrets Behind Balenciaga’s Fall Campaign and Gisele Bündchen’s Cropped Cut

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Alexander Wang’s goal at Balenciaga is not to adapt but to “break the mold.” And for his third runway season at the storied house, the young designer did just that—adding knitwear with new hybrid treatments to the mix and experimenting with asymmetrical shapes that play on the brand’s classic codes. In the latest Fall 2014 campaign, shot by Steven Klein, Wang continues to push boundaries and rock the status quo by depicting Gisele Bündchen—a model made a legend thanks to her feminine curves and beachy waves—with a masculine cropped cut. The 360-degree view we’re given of her shorn and slicked-back strands in a series of cracked mirrors makes each image all the more intriguing. Similar to an audience questioning how a magician pulls a rabbit out of thin air, the viewer is left wondering how Wang stripped the super of her hallmark attributes to pull this one off. Here, the artistic director does the unthinkable and reveals his secrets exclusively to Style.com.

How does this campaign represent your vision for Balenciaga?

Compared to the first two campaigns that I did with the brand, we really wanted this one to break the mold a little bit. The first one was an homage and more austere, and we never really showed the face. And for the last one, with Daria [Werbowy], it became this idea of transformation. I like this idea of taking iconic supermodels and showing them in a new light and a different way. Specifically with Gisele, she’s known for her hair, so we said, “Let’s show Gisele like she’s never been shown before and this idea of mystery and vanity.” She’s in this black, mirrored room and she’s breaking out of it. In the first season, we had the marble veins [on the runway and in the collection], and then it became the ivy, and then this season the cracked glass—so it was a continuing thread that tied them together as well.

Does the cracked glass represent breaking the mold of what Balenciaga once was as a house?

I mean, in a sense. Yes, I guess vaguely. I think there’s something so beautiful when there’s an organic touch to it. I love this idea of veins in the marble or things that [are] graphic [but still] organic. That element is very interesting to me because there is a rawness to it.

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Where did your inspiration stem from for these visuals?

We worked with Gisele on the show, she closed the show, and we really wanted her. Gisele has been around and shown in so many different ways. So we said, “OK, we want to show Gisele in a way that people have never seen her before.” That was the first goal for us to achieve, and that’s very hard for someone that has done almost everything and has worked with so many different brands and people! It really started with this idea of transforming Gisele and capturing what we felt was different about her being part of the Balenciaga brand. We love showing her really uncompromised and that ultimate extreme beauty breaking out of a mirror. It’s almost beauty so powerful [it can't be contained]. And also to empower women to cut their hair and feel confident and feel beautiful and feel desired.

We’ve seen Gisele recently and her waves are still very much intact. Was there a bit of Photoshop magic at play within this campaign?

I mean, yes, of course. There was a whole team involved. We had a specialist [Jane Choi] come in who actually works on movie sets doing prosthetics. We spent two days making a prosthetic bald cap on a Gisele body double. And then we had to get another body double who we had to give the exact same haircut. So for every picture we took with Gisele, we had to take another picture with the body double. Then we fused those two together. It was the first time I’ve ever worked in that way, and [master retoucher] Pascal Dangin, he’s just incredible. He’s a true artist and a painter. When he was showing me the mock-ups, I was blown away by what he was able to achieve before we even got to the shoot.

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How hard was it to achieve the finished result, as you see the hair from so many different angles?

The funny thing was that Gisele had to come in three hours before call time just to put the bald cap on. We had to wrap the hair very, very flat to her head, put the bald cap on, and then paint the bald cap to the exact same skin color as Gisele. It was basically like putting her into what you usually see on sets like X-Men. Every time we shot the picture it was kind of crazy because it was always just shooting her with the bald cap on and then having to visualize a bald Gisele. Then we’d go in and shoot the body double and that whole process. In the end, seeing it all come together was really magical.

Since we’re seeing Gisele in an entirely new way, who is the Balenciaga girl and how has she evolved since you arrived at the house?

I feel that for me right now the most important thing is to show this idea of empowerment, and people always talk about confidence and strength. It was a bit more understated, and this collection was [one] where I was really breaking through a lot of barriers and connotations, and I wanted the campaign and visuals to represent that. It’s kind of like a continuing dialogue. I never like to put exactly into words who the girl is because the collections speak for themselves. Also, there is something that is celebrated about individuality, and I like that any woman can come to Balenciaga and make it her own.

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What do you think Cristóbal Balenciaga would say about seeing a woman with a shaved head in one of his campaigns?

I don’t know! He was always one to look at women in a different way. I think that’s something that I share in terms of an outlook. If he were living today in our world and our society, and wanting to do something that was different and open up some eyes…hopefully I did him proud.

In terms of Balenciaga, what’s next? What are your plans for expansion?

We have the fragrance [B. Balenciaga, pronounced Bee-dot] that’s coming out this fall. That’s going to be big for me because I’ve never done a fragrance before. And we have a couple of new launches, so it’s a little too early to say, but you’ll just have to stay tuned!

Stay tuned we will.

Want to replicate the Balenciaga buzz without losing all of your length? Anthony Turner, the hair pro who created the slick style that was placed over Bündchen’s bald cap in post, says: “Try pulling your hair back with a low masculine-inspired side part and strong hairline to give the impression of a shorter cut.”

Photos: Courtesy of Balenciaga

Rita Ora’s Brows: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

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Eyebrow transplants surged this year, tweezer sales plummeted, and brow pencils and powders picked up steam. But after all the fuss about bulked up brows, is the Cara Delevingne-fueled craze finally taking a backseat to bleach? Rita Ora posted an arch-less photo to Instagram today, and Katy Perry pulled a similar move last week. While it’s a common occurrence backstage (both Alexander Wang and Marc Jacobs sent brow-less beauties down their Fall 2014 runways), we’re hoping this is one trend that doesn’t take off. One of the things that set Ora apart from the legions of platinum converts out there were her perfectly articulated arches. In an earlier interview with Style.com, she said, “I trim my brows a lot because I’m Albanian and I’m pretty hairy.” Unless you’re Andy Warhol, who famously stated, “I had a lot of dates, but I decided to stay home and dye my eyebrows,” when it comes to the hair above your eyes, the bolder, the better.

Photos: Instagram

Escape With Essie

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essieThe fashion world may be focused on Fall 2014, but Essie released a nail polish line this month designed to complement resortwear—and after schlepping through the slush during Winter Storm Pax, I could use a beach retreat right about now. But seeing as there are still weeks of shows ahead, a manicure will just have to suffice. The four lacquers in the range are reminiscent of the hues that populated designers’ collections in June: Resort Fling (a coral similar to Look 9 at Ralph Rucci), Cocktails & Coconuts (a sand comparable to the camel-colored leather separates at Alexander Wang), Find Me an Oasis (an icy blue like that of the delicate dress in Look 9 at Chloé), and Under the Twilight (a rich plum parallel to Look 15 at 3.1 Phillip Lims’s collection). And at $8.50 a bottle, everyone can afford to dip a toe (or finger) in paradise.

Model in the Mirror

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toni-garrn-cropWhether you were caught in last night’s Alexander Wang-induced traffic jam or skipping NYFW altogether (thus far) like model Toni Garrn, the rearview mirror is always a good place for a makeup touch-up.

Photo: Instagram

Industrial Minimalism, Backstage at Alexander Wang

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alexander-wangWhen you’re Alexander Wang, you don’t bring Brooklyn to the fashion set; you bring the fashion set to Brooklyn. And when you bring the fashion set to Brooklyn, you better deliver something special—like heat-activated fabrics and a 360-degree finale composed of a dozen supers (including Karlie Kloss, Joan Smalls, Caroline Trentini, Anne V, Angela Lindvall, and Bridget Hall).

Diane Kendal and Guido Palau were tasked with creating hair and makeup that lived up to the spectacle across the river. For Kendal, that meant creating “monochrome” faces with bleached brows, light coverage foundation, a bit of contouring underneath the cheekbones and in the creases of the eyes, and a few strategic swipes of NARS Illuminator in Copacabana for sheen. “The head is very hard…so we wanted [to create] an open feel to the face—almost like mannequins,” she explained of the androgynous look.

Palau married multiple references—the sixties, futurism, comb-overs—into a lacquered style that swept across the forehead like a bang and wrapped tightly around the sides. “[The idea] was taken from an illustration that Alex had done—I wanted to do hair that was kind of drawn on,” he said. To achieve this, Palau blew strands straight using a Mason Pearson brush, made a deep side part, doused hair from roots to ends with Redken Control Addict 28 High-Control Hairspray, smoothed everything into place, and blew it dry to lock in the shape. Any remaining length was pulled into a low ponytail, which would later be concealed by cravats. The twelve models dressed in head-to-toe black (revealing vibrant shades of pink, yellow, blue, purple, and green when rotated in front of industrial vents) had their heads blasted with black powder for a seamless finish. When asked about the venue change, Palau replied, “What do I think about Brooklyn? No, it’s great.” The masses might not be in favor of crossing a bridge to get to a show, but Uber certainly enjoyed the ride.

Photo: Gianni Pucci, Indigitalimages.com