Alexander Wang is taking the next step in putting a new spin on a classic.
With his first fragrance, Wang taps into Balenciaga’s heritage, filtered through his own modern perspective. Wang, who was named creative director of Balenciaga in December 2012, relished the chance to try his hand at a new artistic endeavor in creating the new scent, B Balenciaga — a good thing, as he began working on it practically from Day One at the house. The fragrance is due on counter in mid-October.
“Each element was a process that took a lot of evaluation as to what’s been done before and what hasn’t been done before,” he told WWD. “It took a lot of soul-searching, but I really wanted to do something quite pure, as I see it as a step forward for the house. It was exciting working on the scent and going to the essence of the brand, to its DNA, and to also combine that with my vision. Designing fragrances and designing clothes and accessories are both emotional. But fragrance is much more scientific, while in bags, shoes and clothes, there are a lot of tech parameters. With fragrance, it’s a whole different ball game. I’m always up for a creative challenge, though — I love to explore and dig up why something has to work the way it does.”
Wang practices what he preaches as far as new creative challenges: He’s also collaborated with Beats by Dr. Dre to do a limited-edition collection of custom Beats products, including studio headphones and earbuds, and Samsung on a limited-edition charity backpack to raise funds for Art Start, a nationally charity which promotes creative endeavours to at-risk children.
The crackled glass of the fragrance bottle pays homage to the marble flooring of Balenciaga’s original salon at 10 Avenue George V in Paris — “The glass treatment felt very artisanal, yet refined, and the texture also reminded me of veins of marble and the marble theme that was in my first collection for the house,” noted Wang — while the exposed arch of the cap is intended to reference the arches found in Balenciaga’s modern fashion and accessories. The designer chose a six-sided, bold architectural design for the fragrance bottle, with a graphic panel bearing the fragrance’s name.
“I loved the idea of a cutout on the cap,” he said. “I didn’t want to base this project too much on the past, but also wanted it to be iconic to the brand. I want it to stand the test of time.”
The box is graphic with a large B, representing the fragrance’s name. The designer gave the industry a preview of the scent Wednesday at his pre-spring 2015 show. Equally graphic is the scent’s name. “I knew I wanted something straightforward, pure and simple,” said Wang. “Taking the name of the house and making it slightly abstract, but graphic, felt right.”
As for the juice, “I’ve always been attracted to scents with strong green notes, and we also added a darker woody flair to it,” said Wang. Top notes are of lily of the valley bell, violet green leaves accord and green edamame accord; a heart of iris root and cedarwood, and a base of ambrette seeds and cashmeran wood. Wang worked with International Flavors & Fragrances’ Domitille Bertier to craft the fragrance.
The lily of the valley in the scent was inspired by several things, including walks in Paris and the bridal bouquet of his close friend Vanessa Traina Snow, said Wang. Snow styled the advertising campaign for the fragrance, which features Anna Ewers and was shot by Steven Klein. “I knew I wanted to do a portrait of a woman, something mysterious with a veil, but not too restrictive,” said Wang. The final image features Ewers with a light veil shrouding her face and cascading down her shoulders.
Ads will begin breaking in October fashion, beauty and lifestyle magazines, noted Lori Singer, group vice president of global marketing at Coty Prestige, which holds the Balenciaga scent license.
Like the other two fragrances in the current Balenciaga offering, B Balenciaga will be sold in about 300 U.S. specialty stores — including Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and selected Sephora doors, said Steve Mormoris, senior vice president of American fragrances for Coty Prestige. Globally, it’s expected to be in about 5,000 doors in total.
While executives and Wang declined comment on sales figures, industry sources estimated that the scent could do $40 million at retail globally in its first year on counter.
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
For men’s fall 2018, @giuseppezanotti drew on elements from streetwear, sport, biker, combat and rock ‘n’ roll. Pictured here are a pair of shoes from the collection, featuring zippers, rhinestones, and silver hardware. Head to WWD.com to see a roundup of the accessories from Milan’s men’s fall 2018 shows. #wwdfashion (📷: Andrea Delb)
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of @ralphlauren’s snowboarding collection, the brand is mining its archives. The iconic brand is reintroducing vintage styles and dropping new designs for a color capsule that will be available in Ralph Lauren stores and @openingceremony on January 25. The capsule will consist of 10 pieces, including the Snow Beach Pullover, pictured here, which is a collector’s item that rapper Raekwon wore in Wu-Tang Clan’s “Can It Be All So Simple” video. #wwdfashion (📷: Tom Gould)
For @rochasofficial’s pre-fall 2018 collection, creative director Alessandro Dell’Acqua channeled the sophisticated and intriguing Catherine Denevue in the film “Belle de Jour.” Polished collarless coats, midi skirts, suits and ’60s graphic motifs were all featured in the collection, adding a sense of discreet luxury. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion
“We tried to produce clothing of that couture quality, but the most daunting part was that we only had a matter of days [to do it],” said costume designer Lou Eyrich, who recreated Gianni Versace’s iconic looks for @americancrimestoryfx. Eyrich searched online retailers and vintage shops for original pieces from the design house and for @penelopecruzoficial, who plays Donatella Versace. Head to WWD.com to read how she created the Versace world. #wwdfashion
Only three months after her stellar debut catwalk season, @kaiagerber has inked her first big design collaboration –– with @karllagerfeld. The collection blends Lagerfeld’s Parisian chic aesthetic and the model’s signature West Coast casual style via RTW, accessories, footwear and more. The #KarlLagerfeldxKaia collection will launch in September with a series of events. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews