Balenciaga, AW13, Paris.
The Autumn-Winter 2013 collection at Balenciaga used a simple palette of monochrome to explore careful draping and pattern cutting around a geometric theme.
The monochrome palette was also punctuated with metal hardware and a series of textures that mimicked the cracks and seaming of marble.
As the first collection with Alexander Wang at the helm of the house, the return to classic geometry and a monochrome colour scheme could be seen as something of a palette cleanser, a way of pressing a reset button. These sorts of classic themes often serve to focus the eye on the cut of the garments and the beautiful fabrications that the designer is using, rather than distracting with prints and colours. In fact you will sometimes notice that other designers will also return to these types of themes, even without going through a career change, as it is a way for the designer to “return to the cloth”.
It is interesting to look through the collection and see how the different shapes of circle, triangle and square appear in the silhouettes of the garments. Sometimes they appear as whole shapes, at other times they appear as fragments. At times you will see a reference to a circle in a shaped hem, or a reference to triangular shapes through the angle of pleating. It is also worth looking at negative space around the spaces as the shapes are sometimes emphasised when seen against the skin or against a contrast colour.
With the shapes established in the first half of the collection, we then begin to see the fabric texture used to create more depth. This included a marble effect on knitwear that appeared to be created by screen printing stretch fabrics with a thick pigment paste through a blank screen. Once dried the pigment then appears to crack as the base fabric is stretched.
To learn more about the draping of one of the garments from this collection please see Drape Analysis of a Balenciaga Jacket»
Images from Vogue.co.uk»