When designer Nicolas Ghesquiere resigned last week as creative director of Balenciaga (quite surprisingly), it left very important and chic shoes to fill at the storied Parisian house. There's been so much designer hopscotch in Paris recently -- Hedi Slimane to YSL, Raf Simons to Dior -- and now Balenciaga looks to have chosen young Christopher Kane as its new top designer, with French media buzzing about the news. Ghesqueire's last day is Nov. 30. Kane's is said to fill the position on Dec. 1.
Kane was born in Scotland and studied at Central St. Martin's, the same London design school that John Galliano and many other major designers attended. He served as creative director for Versace's Versus label for years, but in the past five years, his own label Christopher Kane (sold in Los Angeles at Barneys) has grown more and more creative -- and craved. He uses unusual fabrics and prints, which sometimes appear plasticine and shiny, and he knows how to work a wild color palette. His clothes have gotten many a magazine editorial, and with every collection, he's grown stronger.
Like Ghesquiere, Kane's an innovator, and Balenciaga has become known for arch shapes and avant garde elements. Some has even looked fairly unwearable in the past few years, with enormous effort to be edgy. The house may now find itself selling a lot more clothes, and Kane immediately rises to the creme of the Parisian crop alongside Slimane, Simons, Lanvin's Albert Elbaz, Givenchy's Riccardo Tisci and and Nina Ricci's Peter Copping (another Brit in Paris, as Galliano was.) Here's something Slimane, Tisci, Simons and Kane have in common: They are all fairly young and very good-looking men.
There is no confirmation from Balenciaga or Kane on this move, but with the French publication Le Nouvel Observateur first reporting this and WWD picking up on it across the pond, it's firing across the Internet as fast as a fashionable jet.
No one has been able to figure out just why Ghesqueire left the Gucci-owned Balenciaga, as he was incredibly successful there. One piece of speculation is that he felt Gucci gave Slimane a push at YSL that Ghesquiere never received. But the bigger rumor -- and more likely -- is that LVMH, which owns Dior, Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton and is Gucci Group's main competition, is going to give Ghesquiere his own label.
Paris when it sizzles, right?