Balenciaga brass took to Twitter Monday morning to make official what everybody already knew: Alexander Wang has been appointed creative director of the storied house. Rumors of the controversial move were met with everything from excitement to horror, with some critics worrying that the 20-something designer isn’t ready for such a prominent position, and others wondering whether this signals a more commercial turn for the brand. In making the announcement, Balenciaga CEO Isabelle Guichot singled out the designer’s “proven talent, modernity, and individual and cosmopolitan vision of design.” Here’s a look at who’s saying what about Wang.
Before the confirmation New York Times critic Cathy Horyn remained cautiously optimistic about Wang’s promotion, noting his innate understanding of what women want to wear on the street, a trait shared with predecessor Nicolas Ghesquière. She ended her piece with a word of advice for the designer:
“Although I haven’t been a fan of some of his collections (he seems to try too hard, in my opinion), my immediate hope is that he sees this as an amazing opportunity and has fun. Be serious and respectful but, above all, surprise us.”
In the Financial Times, Vanessa Friedman worried that Wang may have bitten off more than he can chew, citing the meltdown of John Galliano and the similarities between Louis Vuitton and Marc Jacobs as evidence that two lines is too many:
“Mr. Wang has a gigantic learning curve ahead of him – not only will he have to work with a French atelier, but he will be responsible for 12 collections of his own (four womens, two mens, plus the same for his diffusion line, T by Alexander Wang), and six mainline collections for Balenciaga (four womens, two mens), plus 14 niche lines (edition, black dress, tricot, silk, pant, T-shirt and leather, all twice a year).
That’s 32 collections a year. 32. Not counting shoes, handbags and jewellery (or swim and lingerie). That’s a lot.”
The Daily Front Row reported that the retail world is firmly behind the famously salable designer. “Alexander Wang has more than proved his potential,” Bergdorf Goodman’s Linda Fargo told the site. “His vision is always pushing forward, always distinct, modernist and innovative — a perfect fit for the codes of Balenciaga.” Ken Downing of Neiman Marcus echoed the sentiment, calling Wang “a brilliant choice” for the label. “I cannot wait for his first collection,” he said.
Back on the Twittershere, bloggers have naturally been weighing in on the news.
Susie Lau of Style Bubble said what many have been thinking:
“So the whispers have been confirmed Alexander Wang is to go to
@BALENCIAGA - an astute business decision more than anything else”.
Bryan Boy took a cheerful tone, offering well wishes for the designer on his move from indie to major label: “Confirmed: Wang announced at Balenciaga. Happy graduation day!”