Fashion is never without its share of gasp worthy moments and social media has its part to play in its exacerbation. Since the departure of Nicolas Ghesquière from Balenciaga rumours have been wild about who would and should step into his funky shoes. Ghesquière is responsible for making Balenciaga relevant again, finally moving it on from the era of its cocoon dresses into a solid high fashion contender. His strength was in marrying the history of the brand and making it a benchmark for its present day aesthetic. It was a good mix most times other than when it wasn’t but that’s just fashion for you.
Initial rumours named Christopher Kane as his successor, but that was quickly diffused with various statements. More recently from vertiable sources, it has emerged that Alexander Wang will be named as the replacement for Ghesquière, soon enough. Naturally, opinions have been divided; Wang, a more contemporary, designer for a high fashion brand? He feels more cool and edgy than high fashion refinery. His clothes often have an element of risqué, ferocious style and a touch of badass. Like marmite, you either love it or your hate it. For some, myself included, he wasn’t the first or most obvious choice, even when it was being circulated, the two couldn’t be factored together. As cool as he is, Alexander Wang is a designer with too youthful an appeal to head a high fashion house like Balenciaga. Although the same could be said for Ghesquière, there is a marked difference in their class of youth. Be all that as it may, fashion thrives on youth so Wang may bring something fresh to the table. Who knows? But we’ll see.
Goodness knows what Wang must be going through. Sometimes in the wake of these developments we can lose sight of the fact that these creatives are just like us, they go through the same motions and suffer the same emotions. No industry is guiltier of this than the fashion industry. He must be ecstatic! He’d be mad not to be, but part of him must be scared shitless because this is not just some other brand, its Balenciaga, one of the most definitive fashion brands out there. And he is stepping in after Ghesquière’s 15 year tenure. Talk about BIG shoes. I hope he has big feet. What was the reasoning behind this hire? Its hard to think what was lacking in Ghesquière, although sometimes his vision came across discombobulated, especially when he tried out new things, we were too used to his established ways to understand the new, he was no less an enigmatic and talented designer. Maybe newness under new hands will not be so lost in translation. The thing about Wang is just that, he has that indescribably unique something, like the french call it, je ne sais quoi. He’s a rebel with a cool temperament, he’ll pay homage to the history of the brand but make it work with his vision. I do hope so, because that is his biggest advantage, his vision. Wang has an incredible eye, a bit eccentric sometimes, but whatever, that’s the one thing we can all agree on.
Will he do well to meet our expectations? That remains to be seen. In the wake of the furore surrounding the appointments of Hedi Slimane for YSL and Raf Simons for Dior and the bizarre exit of Decarnin from Balmain, reserving judgement seems wise. But one thing’s for sure: Wang will take centre stage come Fashion Week AW13.
I wonder what drama will unfold now all this has played out. You can’t deny Paris does drama so well during fashion week no?