This fashion season is shaping up to be a tale of two cities and two designers: London for Christopher Kane now that he has a financial pat on the back from fashion conglomerate PPR and New York for fellow wunderkind Alexander Wang who has just taken the helm at Balenciaga - and continues to run his own hugely influential label at the same time.
This evening it was time for the latter designer to step up to the mark which couldn't help but get us thinking how much we were going to see here that might somehow transpire in Paris for Balenciaga - even though they are two quite different labels. But we wondered all the same, which is why Wang found himself under a renewed but very hot and shiny spotlight this evening. He is part of a new generation of designers who are successfully and substantially rising up the fashion ranks - first making their own successful stamp on the landscape and then infiltrating the heritage houses. And this evening everyone was feeling the "Balenciaga effect" - was this the big tease?
But back to the show in question all by itself, which had plenty to keep us occupied in its own right: a sporty and tough mix with a softness. Wang revisited and reworked his signatures - sweatshirts and T-shirts, sweat pants and bombers - and served them up to a new severe and elongated effect, so that folds and drapes pumped up the volume and lengthened silhouettes.
It was street sharp just as much as it was casual and soft - still that sporty element that Wang does so well but with abrupt macs of dropped-waist proportion mixed in and lots of texture combinations to keep it supremely interesting and tactile.
Balaclavas, mule-clog hybrids and A4 folio filing bags - the accessories were a great and innovative play on function, form and fashion to go with all the looks that did the same: see tuxedo all-in-ones that still sexily managed to expose flesh as well as be utilitarian, and jogging pant-harem hybrids. Those bombers and sweatshirts folded into place and there was a sharper and angular distinction among this collection, a move on from what we've seen before - one that will translate in fashion speak in general but which we'll have to wait and see if it translates Balenciaga- style. And we can't wait.