Months of speculation have come to head today as French fashion house Balenciaga officially named Alexander Wang as the replacement for long-time house designer Nicolas Ghesqiuère, who led the brand in global expansion over the last 15 years – as reported in Women’s Wear Daily.
While Ghesquière has remained mum on his reasons for leaving, but speculation is that he disagreed with his PPR bosses decisions to focus on commercial expansion which would ultimately hinder his creative freedom. This is where Wang can step in and shine. He can bring the commercial success that PPR so desperately seeks, while proving he can maintain Balenciaga’s current momentum.
More importantly, Wang’s connection (and success) with the Chinese market makes him a valuable asset to Balenciaga. He speaks fluent Mandarin and makes trips often to Hong Kong and Shanghai, where his father and mother live, respectively. He understands the needs and aesthetics of the Chinese consumer. “In a way, I know there’s an audience that connects with me,” he said recently. “How I identify that or what I pinpoint that to, whether it’s because of my background or because I connect with people of my generation in New York or London – that, I don’t know how to explain or quantify.”
Wang, 28, launched his eponymous label in 2007. His grunge aesthetic (featuring slouchy silhouettes and monochromatic collections) quickly became a favorite among New York fashionistas longing for a reminiscent taste of the 90s. As the “off-duty model” look was rising, Wang became the face of a movement. Wang’s Spring 2013 collection includes geometric laser-cut dresses and a rife of “censorship” with pieces only slightly concealing body parts.