The notoriously exacting Coco Chanel was a fan: “Balenciaga is a couturier in the truest sense of the word. Only he is capable of cutting material, assembling a creation and sewing it by hand. The others are simply fashion designers.” As was Christian Dior, who described the Spanish-born designer as “the master of us all”.
Essentially, Cristóbal Balenciaga was the ultimate modernist – building his brand on sculptural silhouettes, patterns and shapes that almost always went against the grain.
When the brand announced the departure of its latest creative director, the influential Nicolas Ghesquière, the fashion industry was flummoxed. Who would take over? Who was exciting enough to take the hot seat of such an inspired maverick? The answer was found in the 28-year-old Alexander Wang (pictured), the man behind many an ‘it bag’ for his own eponymous line.
Considering that Balenciaga’s most coveted bag of the Ghesquière era was the biker-inspired Lariat bag – one of the most iconic designs of the entire it-bag movement – it was interesting to see the very different direction that Wang took for his first collection for the brand. This cleverly constructed Minaudière Box is made from woven metal and is the perfect representation of Balenciaga’s new lady – no frills, no fuss; just simple, beautifully constructed, elegant design. The bag retails at Dh12,200. www.balenciaga.com