Up until this point at Balenciaga, Alexander Wang has been fairly reverent, not just of Cristóbal Balenciaga and his couture codes, but also of Nicolas Ghesquière, Wang’s immediate predecessor. Tonight, the designer began to break free. New 8 p.m. time slot, new Palais de Tokyo location, and a state-of-the-art glass and grid-work runway under which dry ice machines pumped smoke.
The first model stormed out to the soundtrack’s thumping beats in a sweeping duster coat that peeled back to reveal a snug, partially sheer tee and cutaway shorts. At a glance, it was tempting to see signs of Wang’s early work in New York—the way he blended sport and the street. But that’s only part of the story. Wang was in Paris this summer during the Tour de France, and it was the world of cycling—the competitors’ second-skin kits, the shoes that clamp into pedals—that influenced the built-for-speed feeling of this collection. Silhouettes were lean and athletic: the pants leggings-tight, shirts clingy, and dresses cut like a glove.