The aggressively progressive luxury goods company Kering, owners of YSL, Gucci, Alexander McQueen, Boucheron, Stella MacCartney, Balenciaga and a host of other droolingly luxurious brands, announced today that they would not be renewing Alexander Wang's contract, and that his last collection for Balenciaga would be Spring/Summer 2016 in September for Paris Fashion Week.
Womenswear Daily reported back on July 3rd that not all was well with Balenciaga and Wang, although in March, Wang said, “I feel we’re already a globally recognized house, and a top luxury leader. We’re well on our way." Paris was abuzz with the news of the rift despite the fact that Wang and the House of Balenciaga were reporting plans to aggressively develop more menswear and knitwear. Wags say that Wang was never good enough for Balenciaga and that he besmirched the most cerebral of Paris fashion houses, bringing shame by dressing the Kardashians.
Wang succeeded the brilliant and charismatic Nicolas Ghesquiére in 2012. Ghesquiére's 15 year stint with Balenciaga revitalized the vaunted name of Balenciaga and turned it into one of the most influential fashion houses on
earth. When Ghesquiére moved on to become top dog at Louis Vuitton, Wang seemed to be a reasonable successor, though with a distinctly American twist. Says Austin, Texas designer Gail Chovan, who was trained in Paris and spends every summer teaching there, "Personally I feel that - although I love the modernist approach of Alexander Wang - he never had the European depth and sensibility of Ghesquiére to continue the strength of the brand." Apparently Kering agreed.
Though among the edgiest and successful of American designers, Wang is said to have been quietly scouting for investors in his namesake company, Alexander Wang, for some time. Kering, on the other hand, has not announced a successor to Wang yet, and all of Paris is speculating that Wang's replacement will be an unknown. Kering is not afraid of unknowns, proven earlier this year when it replaced Gucci's Frida Giannini with the low-profile, but deeply talented Alessandro Michele.
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