The news have been officially confirmed today December 3, 2012 that fashion designer Alexander Wang is the new artistic director at Balenciaga. He will remain the head of his own house while arriving at the creative helm of the haute couture house founded by Cristobal Balenciaga. He succeeds Nicolas Ghesquière...
According to French expert Serge Carreira who teaches fashion and luxury at Sciences Po, this choice reveals major economic considerations for the present and the future, and one might add, even geo-strategic ones.
Indeed, notwithstanding the stylistic merits of Wang, one can see here the will to consolidate a traditional and fundamental historical market of Balenciaga, i.e., the USA, while ensuring more mid-term that China will become one of their key commercial assets as it is en route to becoming one of the biggest players for the fashion industry; Wang is Taiwanese originally.
In this light, the departure of Ghesquière signs a political move for luxury group PPR to make Balenciaga shed some of its Europeanocentric positionings and make it more international and global, but also more youthful and hybrid in its outlook.
Known for his sense of urban cool and laid-back stylings - like a real-life variant on the CK One generation - Wang would bring a feeling for street-style, sportswear and more accessible plays on structure.
As was apparent in the latest exhibition on Balenciaga fashion in Paris, "Cristóbal Balenciaga, collectionneur de modes" at the Docks de la Seine while Galliera is on hiatus, the founder of the brand himself used to take inspiration from folklore - like Chanel herself - in particular, Spanish folklore, but used these forms to turn them into highly sophisticated high-couture items.
Today, folklorisms are perhaps less sought out, but street-style is almost a must. Few are pretending anymore to think alone in an ivory tower about fashion.
Fashion today is about keeping some of this spontaneous feelings from the street, and not just transmuting them into their higher beings.
According to fashion critic of the New York Times, Cathy Horyn, one could also see in this evolution a personal opportunity for Alexander Wang to expand his career by sojourning in Paris.
As New York Times fashion photographer Bill Cunningham acknowledged in the documentary dedicated to his oeuvre, Bill Cunningham New York (2010), there is just something about Paris. It will help you shape your eye and your sense of style. In fact, you need it to pretend to understand or lead fashion.
So, conclusion: there appear to be possibilities of growth on both sides, the Balenciaga side and the Alexander Wang one as well, which led to this change, effective immediately.
The first Balenciaga collection under the new tenure would be the fall-winter 2013 women's that would be set to be unveiled from February 26 to March 3rd during Paris Fashion Week. The brand however say that they do not want to put undue pressure on the new house designer and are thinking about a workable format.