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.
Compared to the first two campaigns that Wang did with the brand, they really wanted this one to break the mold a little bit. The first one was an homage and more austere, and they never really showed the face. And for the last one, with Daria Werbowy, it became this idea of transformation. Taking iconic supermodels and showing them in a new light and a different way is the main idea. Specifically with Gisele, 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.
“OK, we want to show Gisele in a way that people have never seen her before. Gisele has been around and shown in so many different ways. That was the first goal for 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." Said Wang
"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. Wang continues.
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." Wang concluded.