Chez Alex

Wang and friends fete Balenciaga's new Soho home


Victoria Traina, Alexander Wang, Vanessa Traina Snow, and Max Snow   
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Balenciaga's new creative director first carved a name for himself in downtown Manhattan, so, in a way, it makes sense that the house's first retail opening with Alexander Wang at the helm would be in Soho—Mercer Street, to be exact, a section of which was blocked to traffic last night so that the likes of Steven Klein, Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele, and Garance Doré could swing through for a first look.

Arms of greenery, studded with white roses and peonies, creep throughout the split-level store; truckloads of veined green marble, installed by Italian specialists, frame the space; and a milk-glass conservatory ceiling creates the illusion of perpetual natural light. Wang explained that he and his talented decorator, Ryan Korban, wanted to channel the leisurely vibe of Cristóbal Balenciaga's salons—"This idea of indulging in the shopping experience," he explained. "What's more luxury than being able to spend all day going through the collection?"

At the new men's store, across the street, the prominent feature of this night was a dinner table, where Wang took a seat next to Julianne Moore. Meanwhile, back in the women's store, Julia Restoin Roitfeld was trying to get her bearings. "I feel like I'm in Paris here—Avenue Montaigne, I think," she declared. She'd be back soon to do some fittings, Restoin Roitfeld added, and would not be bringing friends. "The only people I shop with are my mom or my dad, because they have a true opinion of whether it really suits me or not. Otherwise, I shop alone."

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