Alexander Wang was in Beijing on Thursday to unveil Balenciaga’s new spring collection as part of a larger brand retrospective show meant to reintroduce Chinese fashionistas to the brand, staging a multipronged brand-building event.
Though Balenciaga is still well known in fashion, the brand lost some of its cachet after original designer Cristóbal Balenciaga died in 1972. The fashion house laid dormant until 1986 when Jacques Bogart S.A. acquired the Balenciaga name.
In an interview with Women’s Wear Daily, Alexander Wang said, “The thing about Balenciaga, it’s a very well-known name, but it was absent for a long time,” said Wang. “We’re trying to rebuild a lot of the presence and we see a lot of potential in China.”
Balenciaga China Edition, a multi-pronged brand-building effort, includes an exhibition of forty important archival Cristobal Balenciaga pieces, including the couturier’s famous wedding dress from 1967 and his baby-doll dress from 1958 and a runway show featuring Wang’s Spring 2014 collection.
Wang picked out clothing and jewelry pieces from Balenciaga’s past that would showcase the brand’s heritage to China’s fashion elite, several hundred of whom were in attendance at the show at the Chinese Academy of Oil Painting.
The spring collection show included a capsule collection of 13 styles designed specifically for China. This China Edition included short mesh tops, green and salmon-colored mini-suits, and six cocktail designs, as well as a white satin robe with a cape-inspired design. The collection will be for sale in the brand’s Beijing stores in the coming days.
Wang grew up in China and his mother lives in Shanghai, so he has more perspective than most on the opportunities for Balenciaga in China as the brand’s creative director.
“Before, growing up in Shanghai, the market was much more specific to brands such as Cartier or Dunhill, or even the very large brands such as Vuitton,” Wang said. He continued, “That was much more based on logos and items that were much flashier. The consumers here have become much more evolved. The taste and the style have grown beyond the bigger brands that have a major presence.”
Balenciaga’s president and CEO Isabelle Guichot spoke about expansion plans for the brand in China, though she didn’t give specifics. She did say that the company must become well acquainted with each region of China, as customers are different in each area, and what works in one region may not work in another. Balenciaga currently has twenty stores in China.
The Balenciaga China Edition exhibition is open for free for two days from May 16, 2014 – 12AM-6PM to May 17, 2014 – 9AM-6PM Chinese Academy of Oil Painting 1704 Wenhua Yishu Xin Jie (Street) Gaobeidian, Chaoyang district, Beijing
image credit: balenciaga