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Balenciaga Names Alexander Wang’s Replacement

Photo: Kay-Paris Fernandes/Getty Images

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Balenciaga's search for a replacement for Alexander Wang is over. Demna Gvasalia, the leader behind Parisian design collective Vetements, will take over as artistic director at Balenciaga, WWD reports. He'll stage his first collection for the French fashion house in March, and he'll keep working with Vetements as well.

"We needed somebody that respects the legacy of the brand but also that injects a totally new take on Balenciaga," Balenciaga chief executive officer and president Isabelle Guichot told WWD.

While Gvasalia wasn't among the three designers the New York Times named as possible Wang replacements, his name was circulating in the rumor mill. Gvasalia's Vetements is best known for its oversized sweatshirts, floral dresses, and patchwork reconstructed jeans, according to Business of Fashion, and Vetements's buzzy spring/summer 2016 show this month in a Chinese restaurant featured Kanye West sitting front row. Before Gvasalia launched Vetements in 2014, he worked at Louis Vuitton and Maison Martin Margiela.

Fashion journalist Angelo Flaccavento seemed to predict Gvasalia's rise in his Business of Fashion review of Vetements's most recent show, calling the designer the "legitimate heir" to Margiela. He wrote: "The only danger right now for Vetements is too speedy a rise to success — the show was packed with all the right people. Being such a rarity, one hopes Gvasalia stays underground for a little longer, otherwise he may be swallowed by the system."