Before the rumors about Christopher Kane going to Balenciaga were squelched (a spokesperson for Kane said that the report was "unfounded") I wondered: If Kane was going to helm Balenciaga, what would happen to Versus, the kid-sister Versace line he's designed for the past six seasons? Surely, he couldn't carry on designing three lines.
Even though today brings no new developments regarding who will replace Nicolas Ghesquière at Balenciaga, Versace has announced that Christopher Kane will be leaving Versus in what WWD is describing as a "mutual agreement" between Kane and Donatella Versace.
It's a "mutual agreement" because there was no termination of contract--Versus is simply taking a different tack.
The line won't show twice a year during fashion week. The new strategy for Versus is to be, according to WWD, a "season-less line with a strong digital element that will be designed by Donatella Versace in collaboration with a number of yet-to-be-named young designers, stylists, and creative talents." Capsule collections will be rolled out throughout the year at special events rather than runway shows (the first of which is set for April or May 2013), and items will be available to purchase immediately online.
"I’m thrilled to be engaged in such a major shake-up of the fashion world’s rules,” said Donatella Versace, via press release. She continued to thank Kane, wishing him "all the best for the development of his own line. He will always have my total support."
Both Donatella Versace and Versace chief executive officer Gian Giacomo Ferraris acknowledged Kane's talent and contributions to Versus, a line he electrified with a young, punk, and slightly subversive sensibility. Ferraris described Versace and Kane's relationship as a "beautiful, personal symbiosis."
As for Kane, he said "I am excited about the new Versus strategy, but the time has come to dedicate all my focus to the future of the Christopher Kane label."
Despite Kane's denial of the weekend's Balenciaga rumors the timing of this announcement does seem a tad coincidental. Balenciaga told us they "do not comment on rumors" so until the house is ready to announce a new creative director, any rumored successor to Ghesquière (like Kane) would have to deny any involvement. Something tells us not to rule Kane out just yet.