Coco Chanel once said “I am neither of the past nor of the avant-grade, my style follows life”. What stronger connection than that of designers and artist that share a similar context and time ?. As innovators, they both cant help but be influenced by their zeitgeist, and if the same, the connections between their respective creations are endless.

For this reason, even though many of Cristobal Balenciaga’s most celebrated looks (infanta dresses of 1939 or his 1967 wrap gown ) were strongly inspired by the great works of Spanish 17th and 18th century painters such Velázquez or Goya, it’s the influence drawn from his contemporary artists that fascinates me.

Both the works of Pablo Picasso and Miró were crucial in shaping Balenciaga’s fashion. His iconic four-point bazar dress and green bazar trapeze dress of 1967 mirror the geometric shapes and vivid colours found in Joan Miró’s abstract Blue series of 1927.

On the other hand, The ruffles and shapes seen in the garment of Picasso’s “Seated Harlequin” of 1901 can also be identified on this photograph of Balenciaga’s ruffled gown. We can also find a links between the abstraction of Balenciaga's 1950's experimentations with his fabric pattern's and Picasso’s cubism.

In the Late 50’s and into the 60’s, there was a new rebellious sense of breaking with the established, of futurism triggered by the space race, there was a second wave of feminism, women started to wear mini skirts.. This innovative atmosphere was perceived by the world of contemporary art, as the abstract and deconstructed was now cherished and admired. This paralleled Balenciaga’s experimentations with form and dynamic prints as shown in the patterns of this white silk taffeta dress of 1961, for example.

As seen with Balenciaga and Miró or Picasso, another famous example of contemporary art influencing the fashion industry is Yves Saint Laurent’s Mondrian dress of 1965. It’s pattern is a clear replicate of Mondrian’s composition of 1937.

Schiaparelli’s Lobster Dress of 1937 inspired by his surrealist contemporaneous Dali’s ‘Lobster Telephone’ of 1936 is again, another known example of artists and designers of a same zeitgeist reacting by feeding off one another to their shared environment.

Over time, it has become apparent that both fashion and art are tied with one another. Fashion designers and artists of a specific period, propel and feed off each other as commentators of the cultural spirit of their time, exploring their political, economic, social, technical, ethical or even legal concerns throughout their works, which inevitably means that the fashion industry has and will always be immensely inspired by it’s respective contemporary artists.



There is no doubt that this collection for Balenciaga was one of Alexander Wang’s trendiest. As we can appreciate in the look below, Wang has mastered the “Deshabille trend”. Through the use of loose threads and an intentionally destroyed surface of his delicate fabrics, he gives the garment an unfinished touch, evoking an undone effect and hence the feeling of ease and comfort is reinforced without loosing the garment's luxurious elegance, key when creating an effortless style.

What better for a women than to feel attractive and elegant without seemingly trying too hard? the idea of achieving an effortless beauty is every woman’s dream !

We can appreciate other fashion houses who are also pioneers when it comes to the deshabille trend in the catwalks of paris; Chloé, Alexander McQueen and Lanvin are a good example.



Alexander McQueen

Why now? you may ask yourself. Well.. we live in the era of ego, of mass consumerism. It all revolves around the idea of having things. Might we already have too many? Maybe, but one thing is clear: It’s time for the deshabille trend. What cooler than rebelling against the way people expect you to look with a Lanvin or Chloe garment ? It’s a “ I don’t care” reaction to an era in which everything is about self-consciousness.

It also suggests a rebel attitude to the early 20th century, where women where seen as decorative objects and had to wear stiff dresses with fitted constructions in order to seem dressed up. The deshabille trend appeals to the lifestyle of the modern women, enabling her to still achieve a dressed up look through dressing down.

The trend has undergone the bubble up process, or the “status float phenomena” as others would describe it. Higher status segments have clearly imitated those who don’t necessarily have the time or assets to buy new clothes. Even if they’ve been extremely used.

Adopted from the streets, this trend has made it’s way up to the catwalk !

Also, the juxtaposition between the relaxed message of this trend and the lifestyle of the targeted costumer, evoke an idea of adaptation, one that many women can relate to nowadays. We might have a certain lifestyle, but that lifestyle is often supported by a busy schedule, which means we seek for practicality and comfort. This trend appeals to such need and still makes us feel sexy and attractive, which strongly boosts our confidence and feminine strength. There is no doubt, this trend is here to stay ! not only is it practical for the wearer but fits modern lifestyle to perfection.

Very clever when it comes to tapping into wider public consciousness but it also keeps the brands that decide to take it on fresh and relevant.



Forever and always I will remember that the name on the door is Balenciaga. I want to put Cristobal’s iconic elements; sculptured silhouettes, fabrics and prints into how a woman functions and lives in today’s environment.” ( Alexander wang, Wall Street Journal 1st may 2015).

Alexander Wang has finally loosen up at Balenciaga and undoubtedly stepped up to his words. The young designer’s final collection for the Iconic house represented a perfect blend of the brand’s historical essence of sculptured shapes and stiff fabric, key when evoking a sense of austerity and strictness, and Wang’s love for classic sportswear and ease. Achieving hence to appeal to the zeitgeist of today, based on a need for practicality and comfort, without loosing Cristobal’s emphasis on a powerful, refined and minimalist aesthetic.

Balenciaga’s S/S16 ready to wear collection was one of a strict white and Ivory palette. Not only was this key in transmitting a sense of purity, escapism, hope for new beginnings, a “romantic” goodbye to a brand to which he has been devoted to for the past three years, but also respects Cristobal’s love for a minimalist colour spectrum. Even if black is the one colour Balenciaga adored in the early 20th century, Wang’s choice of pure white reflects the change and evolution of the brand from a time where women's role in society was mainly domestic and not as highly regarded as that of men, towards an era of equality, self expression, introspection and freedom of speech. This social transformation can also be hinted in the masculine details of his designs, his "boxer" shorts (image top right) for instance, almost imitates masculine underwear.

It's time to wear the pants ladies !

Wang’s use of fabrics; satin, silk and laces, pampered an atmosphere of romanticism and light spirit. This idea is very attractive to the women of today, who seek positivity and joy in times where there is a clear emphasis on health; weather it's physical or mental, and which it might not be easily obtainable if we consider the busy and frenetic lifestyles of the 21st century.

The designer's emphasis on corsets, bustier cropped tops and complex bra constructions make a clear reference to Cristobal Balenciaga’s excellence as a couturier as well as to his mastery when it came to sculpting the shapes of his garments in order to highlight every women's sensuality and femininity. However, this fitted details are contrasted with oversized jackets, wide trousers and sporty elements, once again merging both the brand’s heritage of Cristobal’s sculptural shapes and Balenciaga’s will to adapt those core values towards a more easy-going and practical present.

We can also pinpoint on this idea as he contrasts the use of slippers and soft ruffled motives with nightdresses and refined materials. Again, giving the option for women to embrace both their sensuality and femininity in a way that the feeling of practicality and comfort is still present. Achieving to make reference once more to this idea of equality, confidence.. being ready to rock their day to day lives !

Bang Bang for Mr. Wang !