From a Paris showroom amidst rails of garment-bags – the intended aesthetic is ‘Balenciaga archives’, as reflected in the collection’s referential prints, but we know there’s at most a threadbare dressing gown or two in there, design team, and we won’t be fooled – comes Balenciaga’s Pre-Fall 2016 collection. Designed in the interim period between Alexander Wang’s exit and Demna Gvasalia’s first show, the collection refers back to the house’s history whilst hinting towards its Vetements-inflected future. Read on for Wonderland’s take on the standout elements!
It’s impossible to get on a train – from any location – to Newcastle without encountering at least three hen parties, complete with ‘Bride To Be’ sashes and sufficient audacity to inflict their pre-game playlist on the entire carriage. Perhaps the Balenciaga in-house team (the collection was designed in the interim period between Alexander Wang’s departure and Demna Gvasalia’s first show) found themselves on such a train, attempting to sketch the Pre-Fall 2016 collection to a pounding Calvin Harris soundtrack. Whatever the inspiration, the result was oversized monochromatic ‘BALENCIAGA’ sashes that rest atop fluorescent yellow and athletic grey ensembles. Logo fans unwilling to relive their Brownie uniform days should look instead to an especially covetable aviator jacket, featuring the ‘BALENCIAGA’ motif on the collar.
Prints old and new
The aforementioned aviator tops the collection’s standout look: head to toe windowpane checks, from thigh-high boots to miniskirt, in navy and white. Oversized gingham, meanwhile, seems to be plucked from the brand’s archives, this time rendered in monochrome and perfectly picnic-y pink and white. A grungy mini floral appears on a loose-cut maxi dress and yet another thigh-high boots/miniskirt combo (the later topped with a vibrant scarlet fur coat); as the eagle-eyed have noted, this seems an awful lot like a nod to Gvasalia’s anarchic Vetements aesthetic.
Thigh-high & sky-high
Let’s double back to the thigh-high boots. Towering stiletto versions crop up across the board, either in concordant prints – pink gingham paired with pink gingham, windowpane with windowpane – or in metallic shades of silver and gold. Elsewhere, a model strikes a Jolie-esque leg-showcase stance in a flat burgundy pair to match a tailored peplum dress. Could the thigh-high boot be this autumn’s alternative to the ubiquitous black tight? Our tangled wad of M&S 60 deniers should be getting nervous.