The Moment: Kering and Alexander Wang confirmed this morning that Spring 2016 will be the designer’s last collection for Balenciaga, ending a brief but fruitful three-year collaboration.
Wang was a controversial choice for the role of creative director from the start, a designer known for his youthful signature sportswear collection and quick commercial success in New York. He was also taking the role from an incredibly popular predecessor, Nicolas Ghesquière, who is most responsible for bringing the Balenciaga name back into the fashion limelight. But Wang more than held his own, creating instantly recognizable (and vastly referenced) moments, from knitwear painted to resemble cracked marble to the sight of Lady Gaga teetering down his runway at the fall show in Paris to take her seat (pictured, below).
Plus, he put Balenciaga on the red carpet in all sorts of places it hadn’t been before, something that was new and exciting for a designer whose signature collection had not been focused on eveningwear.
Why It’s a Wow: Take a look back at some of Wang’s greatest red carpet moments, with the stars who wore his Balenciaga designs, and you’ll see why.
Let’s start with his first big supporter, Julianne Moore, who was Wang’s date to the 2013 Met Gala, wearing a bottle green gown with delicate details that created an inverted triangle of fabric at the bodice, completely charming and unexpected (pictured, below left). “His dresses are restrained and sexy at the same time,” Moore told InStyle, and she’s gone on to wear his cool black and white dresses at film screenings and awards nights, such as at the 2014 Hollywood Film Awards (pictured, below right).
Elisabeth Moss stepped out in a simple but striking deep-V dress at the Tribeca Film Festival last year for a screening of The One I Love (pictured, below left). The timelessness of her dress was what appealed to her most: “You could wear it today, 20 years ago, and 20 years from now,” she said.
Emma Watson drew raves for her off-the-shoulder white blouse and black trousers at the BAFTA Los Angeles Jaguar Britannia Awards last October, chosen from Balenciaga’s hit spring collection (pictured, above right). “The look was unconventional, yet very elevated,” she said.
Kate Mara wore a black and white lace collage top and grid skirt from Wang’s spring 2014 collection to the Humane Society’s 60th anniversary gala in Beverly Hills in March 2014, a cool stake on red carpet that would work for a daytime look or night (pictured, below left). “This is one of my favorite looks I’ve ever worn on the red carpet,” she told InStyle.
And finally, there was Kristen Wiig at the 2014 Met Gala, in a custom look that revealed slim trousers under a sequin-lined cutaway skirt (pictured, above right). “I felt so good in it,” she said. “I loved that it had pants. It was such a different and modern take on a gown.” Of course, Wang had to wine and dine Wiig to gain her favor—when he called her up about the gala, she said he would have to take her to dinner first (they went for Japanese, and hit it off). The results were a terrific match, and what sounded like a wild night: “He can dance on a party bus like nobody’s business,” Wiig said.
Learn More: Review our past coverage of Alexander Wang’s tenure at Balenciaga here.