After initial reports that Christopher Kane would succeed Nicolas Ghesquière at Balenciaga, followed by Kane's departure from Versus, followed by reports that Balenciaga's parent company PPR was looking to invest in Kane's eponymous label, it seemed likely that Kane was the front-runner for the Balenciaga gig, despite his statement that the rumors were "unfounded."
But early last night we got word from a reliable source that Alexander Wang--whose name was tossed into the ring for the Dior job as well as the Balenciaga job--would be named the new creative director of Balenciaga in around a week's time. And since the New York Times' Cathy Horyn is also reporting that Wang is the leading candidate to replace Ghesquière according to a Paris source "with knowledge of the discussions," it seems pretty damn likely that he's in.
We've reached out to both Alexander Wang and Balenciaga and we'll update when we hear back.
If this all pans out, it will be interesting to see how Balenciaga will look under Wang's creative direction. Balenciaga's codes are all about structure and silhouette whereas Wang is known for his slouchy, street sensibility.
We must admit when we first heard that Wang was the front-runner for Balenciaga we were all "huh?" But here's why it would make sense: Wang is a massive commercial success. He has the magic touch when it comes to accessories--season after season his shoes and bags are in hot demand. And since accessories are so important to the success of any label, Wang would bring that know-how to Balenciaga, along with cool factor.
Over at byanyseamsnecessary, Kibwe Chase Marshall, a design vet and fashion writer (look for more of him here soon!), surmises that Anna Wintour may have had some influence on the decision. "My guess is that Anna Wintour played a strong role in making this happen as I believe she'd like to see a renaissance of the 'American in Paris' (and Milan) design phenomenon that helped to revitalize New York Fashion in the mid-late 90s (Marc at Vuitton, Tyler at Byblos, Kors at Celine, Rodriguez at Loewe)," he writes. "VERY exciting to see not only how the Balenciaga situation plays out, but whether it ushers in another era of New York Fashion buzz...god knows we need one..." He may have a point as the CFDA has actually been bringing American talent over to Paris for the past few seasons to feature them in a showcase called "Americans in Paris."
UPDATE: We've heard back from Balenciaga and, as is their policy, they do not comment on rumors. No word from Alexander Wang.
UPDATE #2: WWD reports that they've heard from "market sources" that Balenciaga has chosen Wang to succeed Nicolas Ghesquiere, who officially exits the label today. However, neither Balenciaga nor Wang officials would comment. So until that happens, we'll hold off on calling this a confirmation. But, it sure sounds like it's happening.