As we learned in July, this week’s Spring/Summer 2016 runway show will be Alexander Wang’s last for Balenciaga. According to a statement from Balenciaga’s parent company, Kering, in July: “Balenciaga and Alexander Wang today announce their joint decision not to renew their contract beyond its initial term.” The news of Wang’s impending ouster also came with the promise that a new creative director will be announced “in due course.” Now, with Wang’s final show for the Paris-based design house just a day away, we have yet to learn of a confirmed replacement. However, the New York Times has shed light on the three most highly speculated replacements …
According to an article penned by Matthew Schneier: "Chitose Abe, the Tokyo-based designer of Sacai, is a current favorite candidate. Julien Dossena, the promising young artistic director of Paco Rabanne and an alumnus of Balenciaga under Nicolas Ghesquière, Mr. Wang’s predecessor, has been frequently mentioned. So has Bouchra Jarrar, a fellow veteran of Mr. Ghesquière’s Balenciaga who designs her own collection of ready-to-wear and haute couture."
In case these names don't automatically ring a bell, here is a bit about each of them.
Chitose Abe launched her Japan-based label, Sacai, in 1998, and remains the sole owner. Her designs, which BoF has referred to as "urban and sporty yet with delicate drapes and fabrics," have garnered fans in some of fashion’s most influential figures (think: Karl Lagerfeld, Anna Wintour, etc.). Prior to founding Sacai, Abe worked at Comme des Garçons as a pattern cutter under Rei Kawakubo and later as a member of Junya Watanbe’s design team. One of her most recent projects saw her collaborating with Nike on a capsule collection re-imagining some of the sportswear giant's most iconic pieces.
Julien Dossena currently serves as the creative director for Paris-based design house, Paco Rabanne after quitting his job as a designer at Balenciaga in December 2012, after the departure of his boss, Nicolas Ghesquière. Last month, in his column for InStyle, Eric Wilson shed some light on the promising young designer, writing: "Nearly two years ago, the fashion world took notice when a young designer named Julien Dossena took over the Paco Rabanne collection, a Paris label synonymous with the mod avant-garde fashion of the 1960s. Not much had been happening with Rabanne before that, other than a series of ill-fated attempts to modernize its famously youthful spirit by other designers who came and left. But Dossena clearly had something new and exciting to say with chain mail, the fabric of choice at the house of Rabanne." Of his tenure thus far, the New York Times has credited him with reviving the once-tired house, writing: "In just a few seasons, Julien Dossena has made Paco Rabanne new again."
His name may also sound familiar due to his inclusion in the list of finalists for the inaugural LVMH Prize.
And last but certainly not least: Bouchra Jarrar. Paris-based Jarrar founded her fashion house in January 2010 and has since cultivated a devoted clientele for her ready-to-wear and couture creations, known largely for her mastery of fabrics and cuts. Prior to launching her eponymous label, she served as Studio Director at Balenciaga for ten years while the house was under the creative control of Ghesquière. In January 2012, she was awarded the Chevalier dans L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres medal in recognition of her contribution to the French arts., and the following year was officially included on the Haute Couture calendar.
Stay tuned …