Alexander Wang was showing off his new collection to editors on Monday mere hours after the official word came from Balenciaga that he'd been installed as the brand's new creative director. The designer declined to talk about his plans for the august French house or how he'll manage both labels, but if his demeanor was anxious, the clothes he was shooting for his pre-fall lookbook betrayed none of it.

On the contrary, the suiting was some of the most confident of his still young career. Cleanly tailored in donegals and jacquards, the suits were almost sober, save for cool details like zipped-on doubled lapels in black leather. One flocked wool jacket came complete with a black leather panel down one side. "Is it a jacket or a vest?" Wang said. "I wanted that feeling of everything blurring together." Counterbalancing the tailoring were softly draped frocks that had the sporty ease of a sweatshirt, with rolled-up sleeves and artfully rumpled necklines. Here, he said, he was going for a shrugged-on feeling, but the little dresses won't be out of a place in an office setting. Should he wear his new responsibilities chez Balenciaga with the same kind of aplomb, he'll be well positioned for the future. The wooden staircase his team had built, in the only Williamsburg photo studio big enough to hold it, spelled out Wang's message for all of us: He's moving up.