5 Reasons Why Wang Shouldn’t be at Balenciaga

The rumours of Christopher Kane and Alexander Wang taking over at Balenciaga where both terrifying, and sadly one of them was true. Alexander Wang is set to take over at the Paris house, effective immediately. Here’s why this shouldn’t be happening.

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This was original Cristobal Balenciaga couture. It is safe to say that he is now turning over in his grave, at the news of Alexander Wang’s appointment.

1. Balenciaga deserves a full time creative director. Let’s get real here, Alexander Wang has a highly successful business based out of New York City, does anyone really think he is going to put in his 100% at Balenciaga? Of course not. It makes sense for designers to do this when they aren’t completely established, but this is not the case with Wang. Balenciaga’s history and archive are so important and influential, they deserve someone who is going to be totally dedicated to the brand. Not someone who will be busy designing parkas in New York, for half the year.

2. A t-shirt designer is not good enough for a famed couture house. Wang is famous for t-shirts. Balenciaga is famous for the most incredible couture dresses in the 60’s, and then a very artistic (albeit weird), luxury interpretation of fashion under Ghesquiere’s helm. American sportswear does not fit into that mix.

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I just don’t think Wang has the right approach or design sense for a famed Paris fashion house. (Left, Alexander Wang FW12, right, SS11.)

3. Wang is all about predictable it-girls and accessibility, that is certainly not the essence of Balenciaga. Let’s face it, Wang is a bit tacky. His customer is the so-called “cool” New York girls who like to look effortless and relaxed. If they “follow” Wang to Balenciaga, then the brand in turn will become that same tacky. Why does Balenciaga need to court these women? And this new market? It is depressing. Is everything ALWAYS about the bottom line? I guess I know the answer to that question…

4. The sweatshop rumours. Those seemed to have disappeared quietly, because there was a settlement. I am pretty sure there must have been at least a grain of truth to that case, if not, it probably wouldn’t have made it as far as it did. I’m not really that keen on Balenciaga hiring a designer who is know for using sweatshop labour.

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Although he injected a sense of “casual” into Balenciaga, Ghesquiere was still able to capture that feeling luxury, refinement, and total exclusivity that belonged to the house.

5. There’s no chance at a return to couture. I know that couture is irrelevant these days, but I was secretly hoping that the next designer at Balenciaga would do some couture. The haute couture business IS doing reasonably well right now, and it helps sell handbags, so it’s not a total loss leader. I was dreaming of big puffy ballgowns done in some sort of cool, interesting way (sort of like how Valli does them, but different.) Of course with Wang at the helm, there is NO chance of this. And if there is, and he is allowed to design couture, well, I will just CRY.

Now all we can do is wait… and I sincerely hope that I am pleasantly surprised come March.

P.S. I also think my love for Balenciaga shoes is about to come to an end. I doubt Wang will be able to come up with anything as amazing as this and this.

Images from Vogue.com.

  • Jasper

    well what ghesiquiere did at balenciaga is just unbelievably amazing. it is actually sort of mind blowing how awesome his clothes were!

    i don’t think we should undermine wang either though. he has come a long way from just making t-shirts, and has even made some pretty awesome shoes, but yes, valid points!

  • Yaas

    Although I admire Alexander Wang designs, I was a bit shocked when I read the news. I agree with you on A.W. not being the full time designer for Balenciaga and so on . Also A.W does not use much colors (he is very interested in neutrals, earth tones and such) so your worries about not seeing that kind of bold and bright shoes any more sounds adequate.

    But then maybe there is another side to his designs other than knits and drapes. Balenciaga is one of my favorites, hope it doesn’t lose its very well structured and innovative designs.

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    Yes, I sincerely hope he pleasantly surprises us all!

  • AnaO

    I agree, but I’m curious whom you’d suggest instead of Wang

  • Rajan Sami

    It seems the problem is that fashion conglomerates are no longer happy with just having a small, profitable brand in their stable. It saddens me that every brand has to be the size of Gucci. Fashion was richer for Ghesquiere’s aesthetic.

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    Yup, it is ALL about bottom line. But of course, the market is saturated. No one can get “new” customers in developed markets, so where are they planning on stealing business from?

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    I’ve been thinking about this all day, and I’m afraid I don’t have a brilliant answer. I suppose my suggestion would be to do what Nina Ricci did with Peter Copping. Take someone who is in a high profile position in a large company, who has years of experience behind them, who has proven their worth, and promote them to having their “own” brand. This means we get new talent into the pot, and we don’t have the same small group of designers doing all the jobs.