Break ups are rarely amicable, especially when it comes to the fashion industry. With all the angst and pains of young love, the separation of fashion houses and their creative directors has become an occurrence that demands all the coverage of a Hollywood divorce, quickly snapping up column inches with the injured parties pointing accusatory fingers at one another. It happened quite publicly when John Galliano was unceremoniously ousted by Dior and more recently the fashion world was affixed as tension unfolded between Frida Giannini and Gucci. And let’s not forget the drama that followed Nicholas Ghesquires departure from Balenciaga in 2012 – it’s far from amicable when lawsuits are filed!
It seems however that the storied house has learnt from it’s past indiscretions, with the recent parting of ways with Alexander Wang as one of the most cordial the industry has ever seen. It was always a rather odd match, the pairing of modernist, street wear enthusiast with the historical house of Balenciaga. Whilst Wang undoubtedly tried, his efforts fell short of what fans of the house had come to expect and more importantly, he failed to live up to the commercial (and monetary) expectations that Balenciaga’s parent company Kering had of him.
Of course, behaving like true gentlemen, neither party disclosed any whispers of discord or disappointment, in releasing a joint press statement complete with praises that underlined how much they had enjoyed the collaboration. The message, it seems is that it was good whilst it lasted but it’s over now and neither party is particularly aggrieved. It’s mutual and it’s all ok. For Balenciaga this is a chance to reinvigorate the brand with a creative director who’s vision can take them to the next level whilst Wang will return to New York, ready to give his undivided attention to his namesake label.
So it seems that a departure without all the dramatics is possible. Could it be that after all these years, the fashion industry is finally taking a grown up approach to break ups?