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Who’s next at Balenciaga?

  • November 4, 2019
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London – When Balenciaga and
Alexander Wang announced their joint decision not to renew their contract
beyond its initial term, the first thought on everyone’s lips was who will
be his successor?

Wang spent just two and a half years at the house, in stark comparison to
Nicolas Ghesquière, who was there for fifteen, and who gave the house a new
identity, both aesthetically and commercially.

Wang’s own label took precedence

While the usual joint statement was full of compliments and well wishes for
both the designer and the house, Wang’s tenure at Balenciaga has been both
fleeting and lukewarm. Of course it didn’t help he had one creative foot
permanently submerged in his own label, an empire he has been steadily
building for a decade. Wang did not have the precision, wit or indeed the
romance of founder Cristobal Balenciaga, but while his collections weren’t
blockbusters, they were not disastrous either.

Wang enjoys a certain street cred that brought a younger customer to the
house, but it feels timely for both parties to call it a day. As the New
York Times aptly wrote: “Mr. Wang was effectively a design version of the
bridge boyfriend. Now Balenciaga, and its parent company, Kering, are free
to find someone else without the same expectations attached.”

Now that his departure is official, industry figures are starting to make
predictions as to his replacement. Proenza Schouler, J.W. Anderson and
Joseph Altuzzara are all names being thrown around, as have Christopher
Kane, Thomas Tait, Julien Dossena (Paco Robanne) or perhaps an unknown
designer, following the lead at Gucci.

Christopher Kane could be an interesting candidate. Kane’s own collection
is owned by Kering, the same parent company of Balenciaga. Kane also shares
a modern and strongly feminine aesthetic with the house, particularly when
it was under Ghesquière’s creative direction.

It will be interesting to see who the house will appoint as it’s new
creative head. No doubt the announcement will come after Wang’s final
outing for Balenciaga’s SS16 collection.

Image: Alexander Wang

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