Alexander Wang is confirmed as the new Balenciaga creative director: Here’s what we think
The fate of Balenciaga has been decided. Alexander Wang has been unofficially named the new creative director, succeeding Nicolas Ghesquière—whose final day at the French fashion house is today.
What has been a month of rumours and suspicions about who will take the helm of the brand was settled with a new report from WWD early this morning. According to market insiders, PPR—owner of Balenciaga—has selected the New York-based Alexander Wang to take over although neither Balenciaga nor Alexander Wang has confirmed just yet.
Balenciaga has been under the control of Ghesquière since 1997, has become known for sleek, futuristic and often couture-like designs— is not exactly representative of the Alexander Wang brand.
Since launching his label in 2007, Alexander Wang’s reputation has largely been built off his ability to reinvent American sportswear for a new generation while appealing to a lower price point. He became a New York favourite after perfecting the basic T-shirt and creating some of the most popular It bags through out his career. It is without a doubt that his commercial appeal with accessories is a major draw for PPR’s decision to tap into Wang’s global success.
However, he has huge shoes to fill. Nicolas Ghesquière’s designs are loved by critics, editors, and have been considered wildly influential since his reboot of the brand in the ‘90s. Does the 28-year-old designer have what it takes to helm an iconic fashion house? Only time will tell.
Harry Brant: “All hail Alexander Wang! New creative director of Balenciaga! ! I can finally sleep again knowing the brand is in good hands” (Twitter)
Anita Clarke: “Wang at Balenciaga. Booo. I like Wang, don’t get me wrong, but this is not right.” (Twitter)
Time: “Wang’s appointment won’t just affect Balenciaga. In recent months the winds of change have swept through some of Paris’s most iconic fashion houses. Belgian designer Raf Simons has moved from Jil Sander to Christian Dior, and cutting edge designer Hedi Slimane, formerly of Dior Homme, has moved to Yves Saint Laurent. As this trio of designers strive to make a mark on their respective houses they won’t just be compared to their predecessors, but also to each other. Let the games begin.” (Time)
Bernadette Morra, editor-in-chief: “Nicholas Ghesquiere’s artistic vision resurrected the long-dead Balenciaga brand. But with one lace in his spring ’13 collection travelling to four different countries for treatment, there must have been challenges to the bottom line during his reign. Alexander Wang also has cred with cool hunters, but having built his own successful business is likely to be much more sensitive to the balance between art and commerce. He’s young, he’s cool and he speaks Mandarin. Expect this brand to explode in China”
Randi Bergman, online editor: “Though Alex Wang has showed himself to be one of the smartest businessmen of our generation, I just can’t wrap my head around him designing for Balenciaga. He can certainly churn out the forward-thinking trends just like Nicolas Ghesquière, though he does lack a certain delicacy that I’d think was needed to front such a storied French house. I look forward to him converting me, but in the meantime I’ll be sinking into a long post- Ghesquière mourning session.”