PARIS — Balenciaga will next week name Alexander Wang its new creative director, WWD has learned.
According to market sources, the PPR-owned fashion house picked the buzzy New York designer to succeed Nicolas Ghesquière, who is to officially exit Balenciaga today.
Balenciaga officials had no comment on Thursday. Wang officials did not respond to a request for comment.
A designer in the sleek-and-modern fashion mold of Ghesquière, but with a streetwise edge and a tinge of Goth, Wang has become one the brightest stars of the American fashion scene with his groovy T-shirts, studded handbags and high-impact fashion shows.
He is also admired for his commercial savvy, having rapidly built a sizable business with manufacturing muscle and a global footprint.
The choice of Wang suggests Balenciaga might wish to dial down the elitist, couture-like approach of Ghesquière, and open up to a broader audience with a designer prized for his sportswear approach and youthful energy.
Alexander Wang RTW Spring 2013
“Although we are an American brand, I think that is more to the sense of what is American sportswear, and things that feel very accessible and easy to wear,” Wang said in an interview earlier this year. “But at the same time we really see our audience and our consumer as a global citizen, someone who isn’t defined by where they live or what kind of music they listen to, things like that. It’s a sensibility that is much more individual.”
According to PPR, Balenciaga has multiplied in size by 11 times since it was acquired in 2001 by what was then Gucci Group (now known as PPR’s luxury division).
The brand is posting double-digit growth for the year to date, according to Isabelle Guichot, Balenciaga’s chief executive officer. “We have huge ambitions and we have huge reserves of growth,” she said earlier this month.