Why Alexander Wang and Balenciaga Just Didn't Work Out

August 4, 2015

It's always sad to hear about celebrity couples breaking up. And I know, I should probably expect it, relationships in the public spotlight rarely ever last, but still, I get a little bit broken up whenever I hear about a truly great celebrity couple calling it quits. Take Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick: we all knew that that relationship was about as dysfunctional as a dinner party on The Office, but they were cute! They gave us hope! Without their relationship, we never would have been introduced to the glory that is LORD Disick, and seriously, could you imagine a world without that? I, for one, could not. And it's not like I spend that much time thinking about these couples when they are together, but it's just nice to know that they are there, doing their thing, fighting the odds of Hollywood couple survival rates. It's always sad to hear about a celebrity breakup.

When it comes to designer appointment at fashion houses, it's kind of similar to a celebrity relationship, in a way. You're taking two well-known names and pairing them together in the hopes that together, they will create something beautiful. You don't always know if they're going to work out at first. Some pairings at first seem downright boggling (like Raf Simons when he was given the job at Dior, in my humble opinion) but then you come around to seeing how absolutely magical they are together. Some couplings are simply inevitable—Jeremy Scott finally being given the reigns at Moschino was like waiting for Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis to finally get together. But just as it goes with celebrity relationships, designer appointments don't always go over so well. And it's always sad when that time comes.

Some choose to part on friendly terms, like Marc Jacobs did with Louis Vuitton. It was a devastating breakup but it was understandable. Marc pulled the "it's not you, it's me" trick and actually came away looking like a great guy, so props to him. Others are rather tumultuous (John Galliano's infamous departure from Christian Dior comes to mind). Those breakups can get ugly, but it's probably best for everyone involved that the two part ways.

But sometimes, there's a designer-fashion house breakup that comes out of left field, with little to no warning or explanation, that leaves you asking why. Why did this happen? What went wrong? How could we not see this coming? That breakup is, of course, the one between Alexander Wang and the house of Balenciaga.

A look from the Fall 2015 Balenciaga runway show
I had always been hesitant of the partnership back when Wang was appointed creative director of Balenciaga in 2013, as the young contemporary designer did not seem to fit the bill of designer for a legendary high fashion house. I admire Wang's talent, but personally I've never been over-the-top obsessed with his collections in the same way that many people are. They're okay, but they're never wow! If I had to speak of the two names in relation to a celebrity couple, I'd say they were Sean Penn and Charlize Theron, a totally WTF, how-did-those-two-ever-get-together couple. Yeah.

And yet, I didn't find myself absolutely hating the collections Wang produced for Balenciaga. In fact, his past two collections were among my collection highlights, with Fall 2015 really showing him coming into his stride at the fashion house. The clothes haven't been as revolutionary as they were when Nicholas Ghesquiere was at the helm, but they have been perfectly delightful nevertheless, and I actually thought things were going quite well for the Balenciaga brand. Sales have increased and the brand has been getting a lot of press thanks to celebrity fans. Wang's hip status has no doubt helped to youth-enize the brand. So it's not like he was a total failure or a business bomb. Financially, Balenciaga is doing fine.

If we must speculate, I'm going to pin it on personal decisions. Perhaps Balenciaga just wasn't the right fit for Wang, or perhaps he felt he should be focusing his efforts on his own namesake brand. As is the case with all publicized breakups, we may never know the truth, but no matter what the reasons for this particular breakup, it is sad. Hopefully Balenciaga can bounce back and find a partner who can treat her right and give her everything she deserves (I don't know why the Balenciaga brand is female, just go with me on this). As for Wang, this is a tough time but I think with some self-discovery and deep thinking he'll be able to bounce back. This breakup is sad, but we must look forward into the future and hope for the best. And if Alexander Wang can't satisfy Balenciaga, dare we ask who will be stepping up to the plate next?

Alexander Wang will show one final collection for Balenciaga at Paris Fashion Week next month. Let's hope it's a good swan song.

What are your thoughts on the Alexander Wang-Balenciaga split? Who should replace Wang?

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I love hearing your thoughts! Thanks for reading! ♥︎Lindsey