UPDATE: After reaching out to Balenciaga, French ELLE is reporting that Kane is not yet Ghesquière’s official replacement, but he has not been knocked off of the house’s short list of contenders. PPR says that they will formally announce a new creative director in the next two to three weeks, providing Ghesquière’s successor enough time to design a fully-fledged fall/winter 2013 collection. Kane’s spokesperson reached out to WWD with, “Rumors surrounding Christopher Kane’s appointment as creative director at Balenciaga are unfounded.” Meanwhile a reliable source tells Grazia UK that they are not convinced by the speculation surrounding Kane and consider Alexander Wang to be the front-runner.
After just over one week of speculation, Christopher Kane has reportedly been appointed as the creative director of Balenciaga, according to both Grazia France and French newspaper Le Nouvel Observateur. However, the news has not been officially confirmed by either Kane and Balenciaga. Kane would replace former lead creative Nicolas Ghesquière, who helmed the brand for 15 years before his unexpected departure was announced on Nov. 6.
News of Kane’s hiring isn’t entirely unexpected. According to WWD’s original report on Ghesquière’s departure, he was on PPR’s short list of designers up for the job alongside fellow Londoners Mary Katrantzou, J.W. Anderson, and Thomas Tait, and New York–based talents like Joseph Altuzarra and Alexander Wang. Overall, the industry seems to be excited about the appointment. POP magazine took to Twitter with, “Christopher Kane for Balenciaga = Match made in heaven.” And The Wall Street Journal’s Christina Binkley tweeted, “Toughest thing in fashion is hitting the line between forward and wearable. Christopher Kane has been doing that. Balenciaga? Sounds smart.”
A graduate of Central Saint Martins, Kane drew industry-wide acclaim just out of college with an imaginative senior collection. After establishing his brand in 2006, he went on to become a key collaborator at Versace, and helped reestablish the brand’s secondary, lower-priced line, Versus. No word yet if joining Balenciaga means that Kane will entirely leave his post at Versace (he was whispered to be Donatella Versace’s eventual replacement when she retires), though it seems unlikely that he would be able to sustain so many jobs at once.