We’d venture to say that the news of Alexander Wang‘s appointment at Balenciaga has been more divisive than that of either Raf Simons at Dior or Hedi Slimane at Yves Saint Laurent. But one person seems 100 percent certain that the choice will serve the house well: Balenciaga CEO Isabelle Guichot.
Guichot told WWD that the first thing the designer did once he had the job was to request to delve into the archives, saying he wanted to “understand the culture behind the brand.” For their part, Balenciaga wanted someone who could take this culture and translate it into a new, forward-thinking model. Guichot explains:
“We wanted someone with global thinking, a citizen of the world, and someone who could understand the digital world and the direction of fashion and retail tomorrow. It will be a new vision; a new understanding of the brand. The heritage of Balenciaga is so big. Just a part of it has been exploited, but obviously not all of it.”
In 15 years, Ghesquière often referenced the archives and innovations of Balenciaga, though clearly there is much more from which Wang may draw inspiration, as the house was founded nearly eight decades before his predecessor’s arrival. We’d imagine that executives are especially keen to see where Wang takes the brand in terms of accessories. The CEO praised his “transversal” way of designing — the “global vision” that drove his rapid expansion and success in ready to wear, shoes, handbags, and beyond.
As far as Wang’s eponymous label goes, he will have to be both a good “team player” and get ready to rack up the frequent flier miles with trips between New York and Paris. As Guichot put it: “Designers are now nomadic people; He will be one of those nomads.”
Luckily, he’s unlikely to be short on luxurious luggage to tote along on his travels.