• What Next For Alexander Wang & Balenciaga?

With the announced departure of Alexander Wang from Balenciaga after the next Paris fashion week in October we decided to look at what is next for the fashion designer and the French brand going forward and why exactly it was decided to not renew his contract after just three years as creative director.  Appointed in 2012 as the replacement for Nicolas Ghesquière who had held the role for 15 years, Wang divided opinion from the start with some onlookers questioning whether a designer with a youth-oriented, street inspired approach was the right fit for the French brand.  Although we wouldn’t agree that the three year tenure has been a failure with the upcoming SS16 collection set to be Wang’s last it is obvious something hasn’t quite clicked in place, that spark that seemed to remain missing prevented the American designer from implementing his DNA on Balenciaga in a way that many would have hoped for.

The main reason behind the split is most probably the continued success of Wang’s eponymous label. At the age of just 31 and with his own namesake business celebrating its 10th anniversary this year and reportedly already doing more than $100 million in sales it is expected the designer will use the 12 weeks out of the year currently spent in Paris working on Balenciaga to fully focus on his own brand.

In the same week as he officially announced his departure from his creative director duties when his contract expires Wang opened a store in Mayfair, London which will be his largest flagship store to date signalling his intent to take the brand to the next level. This was backed by news that the young designer was in negotiations with New York based equity firm General Atlantic with further investment sure to help accelerate the brands growth.

On the other side of the coin, at Balenciaga it was obviously felt that it was right for someone else to lead the creative direction of the brand during the landmark years approaching. After the successful appointment of relative unknown Alessandro Michele at Gucci and the immediate success he has had in rejuvenating the Italian brand it wouldn’t be a surprised if Kering went for the same tactic with the French powerhouse either. 

Juggling two huge fashion brands no one can blame Wang for taking some weight off and focusing all his attention in one area. Time will tell but this could work out well for all parties involved with Wang fans now knowing his attention is focused solely on his own brand can look forward to great pieces season after season with even bigger reach, if the H&M collaboration is anything to go by the mass following is definitely already there, while fashion fans in general can look on with excitement at the appointment of Balenciaga’s new creative director with Kering’s choice of designers at Gucci and Saint Laurent  in the form of Alessandro Michele and Hedi Slimane combing to cause buzzes beyond expectation and there’s no reason it can’t be the same for the new designer chosen to take the reins at Balenciaga either.

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