Saturday, October 3, 2015

Who Will Take The Balenciaga Hot Seat?

As Alexander Wang´s final Balenciaga show looms (it's at 7.30pm tonight, for those keen to catch his swansong as soon as it happens), thoughts turn to who might fill the Balenciaga hot seat after his departure. It's not guaranteed that it will be announced in the coming days, but - like major world economies, which swear in new leaders while the other has just vacated the seat to avoid causing global concern or unrest - the world's biggest fashion company's don't generally like to be rudderless for too long.

And so begins the inevitable speculation process. Who should it be? Who will it be? Far from the game that we all participated in during the last major round of musical chairs following John Galliano and Nicholas Ghesquiere´s respective departures, the fashion landscape has shifted in favour of the unknown. The success of the previously unknown Valentino duo - Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli - several other major labels have appointed a name who is perhaps publically unknown, but intimately acquainted with the house in question.

Alessandro Michele at Gucci and Massimo Giorgetti at Emilio Pucci have both been well received - albeit to different degrees, since Michele's reception has been tantamount to a sartorial version of the second coming - and so thoughts turn to whether Balenciaga, which is part of Kering, the same group as Gucci, will traverse the same road.

Names in the frame include Chitose Abe, the Tokyo-based designer of Sacai; Julien Dossena, the promising young artistic director of Paco Rabanne; and ready-to-wear and couture designerBouchra Jarrar - the latter two of whom both worked at Balenciaga in the past, under previous creative director Ghesquière - who all declined to comment when approached by The New York Times this week. Whispers also suggest that the design collective behind Vetements could be in the frame - potentially following the slightly unusual path of appointing more than one creative director, as Carven and Couregges both recently have.

For now, guesswork is the best anyone can do, but by tonight, when Wang takes his final signature upbeat Balenciaga bow, we may be one step closer to the answer.

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