Balenciaga have announced the appointment of New York star Alexander Wang as its new top designer, taking over from Nicolas Ghesquiere at the helm of the French fashion house.
"Balenciaga and PPR are pleased to announce the appointment of Alexander Wang to the post of Creative Director of the Balenciaga fashion house, as of today," said a joint statement issued this week by Balenciaga and its owner, the PPR luxury group.
One of the hottest names in US fashion, Wang will be responsible for designing the brand's women's and men's ready-to-wear and accessories collections, as well as for Balenciaga's image, the text said.
The 28-year-old, born in California to Taiwanese parents, will continue with his independent New York-based house, turning out relaxed chic with a streetwise edge, alongside his new duties at Balenciaga.
"I am deeply honoured to embark on this new role for a brand and house that I have such great admiration and respect for," Wang was quoted as saying in the statement.
PPR took the fashion world by surprise last month by announcing the departure of Ghesquiere, its designer of 15 years, who put the house founded by Spaniard Cristobal Balenciaga in 1919 back on the fashion map in his time there.
The trade magazine Women's Wear Daily had reported on Friday - the last day of Ghesquiere's contract - that Wang had been picked to succeed him.
Isabelle Guichot, Balenciaga's chief executive, paid tribute in the statement to Wang's "proven talent, modernity and individual and cosmopolitan vision of design".
She predicted he would "naturally embrace and enrich the unique heritage of this fashion house which will soon be one hundred years old".
PPR, whose fashion labels include Gucci, Yves Saint-Laurent, Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney has owned Balenciaga since 2001.
Turnover had been multiplied by 11 since the house was acquired by PPR, with two-figure growth for the first nine months of this year.
Industry experts suggested the choice of Wang, who speaks Mandarin and whose own-name brand has been pushing into Asia, could signal a willingness to focus on the vast Chinese market, building on PPR's strong presence in the region.
In Paris meanwhile, the designer has already received a high-profile endorsement after Karl Lagerfeld let slip at an exhibition launch this month that he was wearing an Alexander Wang overcoat.
- COVER MEDIA