Balenciaga Musings Part Deux: More Editors and Stylists Weigh In

by Paige Reddinger

Everyone in Paris is buzzing about who will replace Alexander Wang at Balenciaga. Wang’s final show was well-received by editors and now everyone is speculating who will fill his shoes. Today, Cathy Horyn tweeted: “Demna Gvasalia of Vetements denies he’s the next designer at Balenciaga but that’s the buzz tonight in Paris.” We caught up with another round of editors to hear their thoughts.

Katie Grand, stylist and editor-in-chief, Love
“I’ve been desperate to find out who it will be, but I really don’t know. I’m really excited to find out who it is. I think the Gucci situation was very special, because Alessandro [Michele] was a very known entity to anyone within the company and he was very stylish and he was very good. He was an obvious person to me, because I had worked with him. I don’t think there are many of those and also Gucci is such a machine that when they believe in someone, they can turn the stores around really quickly and they can support it by getting new collections into the stores super fast. The change was very quick and Balenciaga is a smaller company.”

Eric Wilson, fashion news director, InStyle
“Of the big designers who are in play, who may be available, I would say there isn’t a clear possible candidate, so no matter who they choose I think it’s going to be a bit of a risk. We’re at a weird point where the senior creative talent have all recently taken new roles and established themselves quite well so I think it’s unlikely we are going to see a mega star jump from one house to another. I think it will be either a complete unknown or an indie designer with a lot of buzz. But I did like the New York Times’ suggestion about Bouchra Jarrar. She’s very respected in the industry and I think her time has come to be more established. It would be lovely to see a woman take that position.”

Stefano Tonchi, editor-in-chief, W
“I have no idea, but I think that it was a very beautiful way to say goodbye. It was a great Balenciaga show. There was a lot of Alexander Wang in it. The jeans were fantastic. There were also some very Balenciaga pieces. It was lovely.”

Jessica Michault, editor-in-chief, Nowfashion.com
“Where I’ve seen the most interesting progressions for houses are with brands that have actually pulled designers from within the house or unknown designers—there’s Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen and of course, Alessandro Michele at Gucci. I think that that way forward seems to be working better rather than shoehorning a designer in from outside. Not everybody can be Karl Lagerfeld. Not everybody can do six different brands all at once. I’ve seen designers take on more than one house that have struggled so that one season, one house would be really strong and then you would see that there was a weakness in the other one that they were working on. There’s so much going on with collections now—the resort, the traveling, the social media, and of course, the runway shows. All of that is really difficult, which is why a young designer within the house is probably the smart way to go. Sarah and Alessandro were at Alexander McQueen and Gucci, respectively, for a long time. They put in their dues. Maybe not someone as young as what’s going on at Courrèges, although that worked out really well for them—that was a very strong first show. My hope is for somebody who’s been back behind the stage, put in their dues, and is really ready to come forward and take charge of the brand. François-Henri Pinault at Kering did it with Sarah Burton and Alessandro Michele. I’d love to see if he can do it again.”

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