Balenciaga Fires Alexander Wang
Photo courtesy of Alexander Wang on Instagram
After leaving Balenciaga, can Alexander Wang get his mojo back?
When Kering appointed Alexander Wang creative director of Balenciaga in 2012, he replaced the beloved Nicolas Ghesquière who’d held the position for 15 years. The thinking was that he would bring the youth and vibrancy of his own collection (which by the way, appeals to the exact same customer as Ghesquière does), and bring it to the storied house of Balenciaga. Well, it didn’t work.
Just about three years later, Wang is out. Kering won’t renew his contract, and his spring collection, showing this September in Paris, will be his last.
Ghesquière’s departure from the Paris-based house upset a lot of loyal followers. These fans were thrilled when Ghesquière took over at Louis Vuitton, there were no doubts regarding his abilities. Not so true for Wang, whose appointment brought questions as to whether then 29-year-old Alexander Wang was ready, experienced enough, to take the reigns at Balenciaga which in 2017 will celebrate its centenary—especially while simultaneously continuing to design his eponymous collection.
Time has proved, unfortunately for Wang, that he’s not capable of maintaining the standards set by Cristobal Balenciaga, continued by Ghesquière. Despite legions of red carpet mainstays frequenting his front rows, his own brand has suffered, and as for his designs at Balenciaga, well, they never quite got in step with the codes and standards of the house. Balenciaga under Wang lacked the innovation that Ghesquière had brought. Littering the Balenciaga front row with celebrities like Kim Kardashian West, Kanye West, Lady Gaga and Jared Leto merely served as a distraction.
On Tuesday, Kering, the group that owns Balenciaga, reported a drop in earnings for the first half of 2015 that hit 13% (sales jumped up nearly 23% in the second quarter, largely due to the success of Alessandro Michele at Gucci—a worthwhile risk of an appointment).
Here’s hoping that Wang will take the opportunity to refocus on his own brand, bringing it back to the innovative standard some singular attention could make possible.
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