Alexander Wang is in the wings, but today's Balenciaga
collection was the work of the design studio. Without Nicolas Ghesquière to guide them, the team must've known that its efforts would be best spent making commercially viable versions of their former leader's signatures. On that point, they mostly succeeded. There was at least one outfit (a vest, printed blouse, and cropped seventies pants) that was too retro; it shouldn't have made the cut. But other pieces had Ghesquière's handwriting on them—the so-uncool-it's-cool tailoring, the sports references, the anachronistic, vaguely bohemian prints. The big difference: Rather than using the technical materials Ghesquière always tended to favor, the studio opted to use only natural fabrics. It meant that there was little of the sci-fi feeling that we've become accustomed to here. In fact, the collection's strongest piece was a reinterpretation of a bejeweled shift dress from Cristobal Balenciaga's Fall 1966 collection, modernized with a pair of slim black trousers. The hallmark of this house under Ghesquière was its consistent drive forward. Hopefully, that's what Wang is working on at this very moment.