BALENCIAGA Spring 2014 Voyage a Getaria Collection

BALENCIAGA Pre-Spring 2014 collection explores two opposing parallel worlds: the world of couture and the world of tailoring. A new source of inspiration derives from a journey by Alexander Wang and his studio to the Cristobal Balenciaga Museum in Getaria, Spain. This voyage to the birthplace of Cristobal Balenciaga yielded in the new discovery of specific shapes, constructions and techniques created by the couturier, including “Pont” (or “Bridge”) shoulders, kimono sleeves, the “Opera” coat proportion and his origami-inspired works. A parallel inspiration for the collection is the rigorous world of tailoring: the masculine equivalent of couture. Contemporary silhouettes emerge from the fusion of these two traditions – a balancing act between masculine and feminine styling.

While in Getaria, situated on the Spanish Basque coast, Alexander Wang imagined the juxtaposition of Balenciaga’s couture heritage, with its disciplined, structured codes, against a new universe: that of the seashore. At the base of this idea lies the rigorous tailoring that defines Balenciaga, but now with an inflection of modern ease inspired by the vibrant seaside character in Getaria. A sense of lightness, fluidity and movement is expressed in this Resort collection. The outer shell of dresses and coats have been peeled away to expose the linings, with only their embroidered edges remaining. Couture volumes are deconstructed and deflated into rippled drapes.

Key elements of Balenciaga’s DNA presented in the FW 2013 collection remain, but now are deconstructed and dissected to express a sensual quality in the Resort collection. The waistline is alluded to without being strictly defined: it is slightly lowered, accentuating the boyish and dynamic silhouette. Specific materials play a role in the tension between Balenciaga's traditional couture textiles and more masculine fabrics. Metallic cloqué meets poplin; embroideries meet cotton piqué. Light crepe replaces gabardine, lending the collection a softer hand and a sense of ease.

The silhouette is very free with skirts, dresses and trousers proposed in three lengths. Colors highlight the graphic and geometric construction of the clothes, with subtle pastels lending a springtime air. Vibrant prints sourced from the couture archives evoke an artisanal, handmade spirit akin to abstract drawings. Named "Crypté" ( Ink Drawings ), "Sonorité" ( Noise ), "Grille" ( Grid ) or "Pois" ( Dots ), the print motifs have been reworked to create a new dialogue. Some prints are re-embroidered to achieve a 3-dimensional effect. Other prints are printed, laser-cut and fused onto garments. Silk was printed using in a special technique and then puckered, to give a shadowed, tridimensional effect. Accessories echo the “Androgynous Couture” feeling of the collection. Flat shoes are embroidered and adorned with a jeweled strap. In the Balenciaga couture tradition, specific looks are punctuated with embroidered hats inspired by the voyage to Getaria, with chenille embroidery made modern by a black vinyl ribbon.

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