Now it's official, official. Balenciaga confirmed Alexander Wang's appointment as creative director at the Paris-based design house this morning, but the industry has been buzzing non-stop since WWD broke the news last week! Here's what some of our favorite industry insiders have to say...
First and foremost ... Cathy Horyn (the one who actually broke the news): "Hiring a contemporary-market designer doesn’t necessarily indicate that Balenciaga and its parent, PPR, want to make the label more mainstream. In fact, that would be plain foolish, given its history and the glossy stores the company has recently opened. But I think Balenciaga has drifted in recent years, with too many different styles and prices that don’t relate well (or at all) to what Mr. Ghesquière showed on the runway. The company needs to straighten that out."
Harry Brant: "All hail Alexander Wang! New creative director of Balenciaga!! I can finally sleep again knowing the brand is in good hands."
Vanessa Friedman of the Financial Times says: "Talking to a friend from Italy, Wang’s name came up as a designer her 16-year-old loved. Doesn’t seem to me 16-year-olds are Balenciaga’s target customer. So if he is the pick, that leads me to think that maybe PPR wants to change direction with Balenciaga, and go in for a more contemporary and less haute mode, so it can get into that lucrative market, which is growing in China. But to turn Balenciaga, with its storied history and rigorous design sense, into a jeans and tees brand seems almost, well, sacrilegious."
Steven Kolb (the CEO of the CFDA) told us: "It's a big global step for American fashion and for Alex. It is so important for American fashion as it further supports the strength of talent in New York."
Bryan Boy: "Confirmed: Wang announced at Balenciaga. Happy graduation day!"
Miles Socha of WWD: "Wang almost certainly would bring a broader commercial appeal to Balenciaga. He understands the familiar cool that has global recognition among young women."
Mickey Boardman of Paper Magazine: "I'm super excited for Alexander Wang. I love some young blood! The girls will be in a frenzy for what he does."
John Jannuzzi of Lucky Magazine said: "Wow"
Gary Wassner of Hilldun Corp. says: "Balenciaga chose Alexander Wang partly because he's fresh and he's real, and he's not detached. He brings a sense of street style to them. First of all, Alex deserves this opportunity. He's earned it in a very short time!! It's great for him, for his brand and for American fashion. How many NYC designers actually attain this prominence in their career's, let alone in 7 years? And Alex is humble. He's grounded. And his family partners, true partners, are so centered. We were out to dinner this weekend with them and you would never know that such monumental things were occurring. 6 of us at a table and Balenciaga didn't come up until at least 30 minutes into the meal ... Alex isn't pigeonholed. He's not stuck in any aesthetic. He creates it each season, always fresh and young and new. It is an opportunity for him and a great choice for Balenciaga. And it speaks to how far we've come here in NYC as a center of creative fashion."