Fashion designer Alexander Wang leaves Balenciaga
Fashion designer Alexander Wang is leaving his post as creative director at Paris-based luxury house Balenciaga to focus on expanding his own eponymous brand
Balenciaga owner Kering SA and Alexander Wang said that the two were parting ways and won’t renew their contract that is set to expire later this year. Mr. Wang is scheduled to show his final Spring/Summer 2016 collection in October in Paris. Kering didn’t announce his replacement.
“I would like to thank the brilliant team at Balenciaga for their collaboration and for what we have accomplished together, and I am looking forward to taking my own brand to its next level of growth,” he said in the statement.
Wang joined Balenciaga in December 2012 to replace Nicolas Ghesquière, who left after a 15-year run in what was described at the time as a “joint decision” with Kering. Nearly a year later, he joined rival Louis Vuitton.
Balenciaga, along with Kering’s other smaller brands, including Stella McCartney, Bottega Veneta and Yves Saint Laurent, have been counted upon over the past two years to make up for stalled growth at the company’s flagship brand Gucci.
Kering doesn’t break out the financial results of Balenciaga, though the company said earlier this week that the brand, whose classic City hand bags go for around $2,000, posted double-digit growth during the first half of the year. Citigroup analyst Thomas Chauvet estimates that Balenciaga’s sales last year were €300 million ($328.57 million), representing about 3% of Kering’s total revenue.
Wang remains a rising star in the fashion world in both high-end and mainstream retail. His own brand, known for items like leather backpacks that start around $1,000, is scheduled to open a London boutique this year. Last year, his one-time collaboration with fast-fashion retailer Hennes & Mauritz AB sold out in days.
Wang’s departure comes as Kering is reorganizing the management at its smaller luxury brands. Earlier this week, it appointed Grita Loebsack to run its emerging brands.
Kering said its first-half profit declined 13% to EUR 489 million despite a sharp rise in revenue.