Anatomy Of A Bag: Balenciaga


“Heritage” is the word du jour at the house of Balenciaga, as new artistic director Alexander Wang asserts his chic, austere vision with a covetable Fall collection hitting stores now. Yet what will the Balenciaga woman wear with Wang’s swirling marble-motif intarsia furs, tulip skirts, cocoon coats, and other evocations of Cristóbal Balenciaga’s signature shapes and couture rigor? Pieces from “Le Dix,” a new handbag collection—the first under Wang’s direction—which distills the essence of classic Balenciaga into a new and modern must-get.

“Le Dix,” which means the number “10” in French, alludes to both the house’s history (the site of the original Balenciaga salon is 10 avenue George V) and the bag’s singular design and quality (hence, a perfect-10). For Wang, the name was hidden in plain sight. “Le Dix refers to the original address where Balenciaga was founded,” the designer explains. “It was also the name of the brand’s first fragrance. It was only natural that this heritage also be translated into a bag for this first collection.”

A hallmark of the new collection, and a departure from the house’s best-selling motorcycle bag, is structure: a stiff, top-handle design meant to be carried by hand or over the shoulder with an accompanying strap. The other key sentiment is discretion. This is a bag that whispers its status via sleek, surprising details like elongated metal feet; mixed palladium and gold hardware; and contrasting full leather lining (here: a dignified forest green calfskin exterior and rich black Napa interior). It all makes for a collection that cleverly straddles past and future, the synthesis of which is completely Balenciaga.

“Le Dix” Cartable M by numbers:68 – Number of total parts6 – Hours of craftsmanship required to realize a single bag9 – Number of individual pieces of hardware


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