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The internet exploded when Balenciaga's Fall 2014 ad campaign was released, starring supermodel Gisele Bündchen sporting a full-on buzz cut. Now that the shock has subsided, Style.com reports that haircut thing was a major fakeout. To find out what really happened, they got Alexander Wang to spill the beans on everything from the logistics of Gisele's bald cap to how Cristobal Balenciaga would feel about having a woman with a shaved head as the face of his brand.
Wang was adamant about portraying the supermodel in a completely new way. "Specifically with Gisele, she's known for her hair, so we said, 'Let's show Gisele like she's never been shown before and this idea of mystery and vanity,' Wang told Style.com. "She's in this black, mirrored room and she's breaking out of it. In the first season, we had the marble veins [on the runway and in the collection], and then it became the ivy, and then this season the cracked glass—so it was a continuing thread that tied them together as well."
Gisele's cut wasn't just about shock value though, but also a more subtle message to all women about beauty as power. "We love showing her really uncompromised and that ultimate extreme beauty breaking out of a mirror," Wang said. "It's almost beauty so powerful [it can't be contained]. And also to empower women to cut their hair and feel confident and feel beautiful and feel desired."
Not Gisele's body.
Unsurprisingly, portraying beauty as power takes a whole lot of time and hard work. "We had a specialist [Jane Choi] come in who actually works on movie sets doing prosthetics. We spent two days making a prosthetic bald cap on a Gisele body double," Wang explained. "And then we had to get another body double who we had to give the exact same haircut. So for every picture we took with Gisele, we had to take another picture with the body double. Then we fused those two together."
And that was all without Gisele on set. When it was finally time for the supermodel to step in, she had to show up three hours before the call time just to get the bald cap on. "We had to wrap the hair very, very flat to her head, put the bald cap on, and then paint the bald cap to the exact same skin color as Gisele," said Wang. "It was basically like putting her into what you usually see on sets like X-Men."
At the end of the day, would Cristobal Balenciaga approve of all this? "I don't know! He was always one to look at women in a different way. I think that's something that I share in terms of an outlook, Wang told Style.com. "If he were living today in our world and our society, and wanting to do something that was different and open up some eyes…hopefully I did him proud."
· EXCLUSIVE: Alexander Wang Spills the Secrets Behind Balenciaga's Fall Campaign and Gisele Bündchen's Cropped Cut [Style.com]
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· Alexander Wang for H&M: Is H&M Desperate? [Racked]