Shocking news broke in the fashion world this week: Alexander Wang is leaving Balenciaga after less than three years in his position. Wang follows the esteemed Nicolas Ghesquière, who spent fifteen years in his position and utterly transformed and revitalized the Balenciaga brand. Ghesquière then started at Louis Vuitton. Wang started in 2012 and the news was an enormous shock to the fashion community as Wang was only 28 years old at the time and was better known for his self-named brand of off duty modeling style and folks wondered how he would do with the responsibility of the brand. virtually 100 year old luxury on his shoulders. It was also surprising because not only did he hold the creative director position at Balenciaga, but he was also running his own company at the same time, which is a large job for a young man. Major designers such as Zac Posen and Jeremy Scott have done this with Posen also assuming responsibility for the Brooks Brothers brand and Jeremy Scott taking on the role of creative director of Moschino in addition to their own brand.
Balenciaga CEO Isabelle Guichot issued an announcement last Friday saying, “All of us at Balenciaga are extremely grateful to Alexander for his important contribution to the style and history of this iconic home. The brand’s dynamic growth over the past few years bears witness to its successful creative work.” It said the split was a “mutual separation” and Kering, the French firm owner of brands such as Balenciaga, Gucci, Alexander McQueen and other major brands, appears to have split from Alexander Wang on good terms, with Kering CEO and chairman François -Henri Pinault saying “I personally wish him all the best”. There is no exact reason why, but one can only assume that Wang left to focus on his own New York-based Alexander Wang brand because of his statement in which he said, “It has been an amazing experience to work with a couture house in Paris. … I am honored to have the opportunity to work on this historic home. I want to thank the brilliant team at Balenciaga for their collaboration and for what we have accomplished together, and I look forward to taking my own brand to the next level of growth.”
And who will replace Alexander Wang? Kering said that “a new creative director for the brand will be announced in due course”, but it was reported that the search is now in its early stages. According to a source, Kering is open to recruiting newcomers or unknown designers. Whoever it was would follow in the great footsteps of Alexander Wang and Wang would certainly impress and have success with his own brand. With his huge following/celebrity friends and Wang’s emergence as a fashion leader, I predict the Alexander Wang brand will become a leading brand in the world of luxury fashion in the years to come. Wang’s final Balenciaga show will take place this October in Paris and it is going to be a can’t-miss event as Wang’s three-year stint at Balenciaga is coming to an end.