PPR Says Wang’s New Gig Has Nothing To Do With His Background
Alexander Wang‘s appointment at Balenciaga is quite a coup for the downtown designer, but also confusing. A young, contemporary designer at the helm of a 98-year-old French fashion house? Indeed, it sounds slightly off, but Balenciaga CEO Isabelle Guichot, Karl Lagerfeld, and more have all weighed in on why Wang was chosen to head the company. Today, it’s parent company PPR‘s turn.
François-Henri Pinault explains to WWD:
“We were looking at who could take on the helm for the brand’s creative. The way we do it we really spent time understanding who is, not what is, the brand — the human being. And we wanted to really continue what has been built by Nicolas. Alexander Wang is young and he has a very universal culture. He is American with Chinese roots. His family is based in Shanghai. He has a very strong talent not only when it comes to accessible product, but his talent could also be adapted for couture at Balenciaga. It will be a big challenge for him. I like that he’s young and based in New York, so we will have more exposure of the brand worldwide. Alexander has this wonderful contemporary brand under his own name and this has nothing to do with Balenciaga. We will not change anything in the positioning [of the Balenciaga brand.]“
It sounds like Wang’s Chinese-American background (Wang’s parents are actually Taiwanese, but that China vs. Taiwan argument is neither here nor there) might have something to do with his new role at Balenciaga. Earlier this week, Lagerfeld even alluded to the booming Asian luxury market and Wang’s “origins,” but Pinault denies that mixed heritage was a factor:
“No, it is a mixture of value that Alexander will bring. It was not a criteria for recruitment at all. It was really [a matter of] let’s find the right talent, the right skills, the right profile for the reality of the brand. The brand has been built over the last 15 years with Nicolas. We don’t intend to change. It’s not a rupture. We plan to continue to build on what has been built by Nicolas. We needed someone who was capable of coping with that. So that is what is at stake.”
Really, who knows why. Guess we’ll find out the answer at Wang’s debut Balenciaga show during Paris Fashion Week in February.