Dave Allen

Change is scary

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Wang, Dave Allen, NorthI was reading about the designer Alexander Wang and his new role as creative director for the French fashion house Balenciaga. As is often the way in fashion circles a certain amount of hyperbole surrounds the news. I couldn’t help but notice how some of the old guard reacted to the news – “It was a coup for Alex, and a coup for American fashion,” said Diane von Furstenberg. But, she added, “he’s going to need some mentoring in Paris.” Given that Wang already runs a $60 million company of his own, I wonder exactly what Ms von Furstenberg has in mind when she mentions mentoring?

It appears that it is his youth that has ruffled some feathers. The fact that Wang is an Asian-American is also cited as evidence that Balenciaga’s executives were cynically looking at the massive opportunities to be had in the growing economy of China. Vogue editor Anna Wintour gets it right – “Oh, please, come on,” she said. “How great is it to be young? That is when designers are at their most fearless. That is when you do your most creative work.”

Fear of youth is ridiculous. Wang has talent beyond his years and his creativity is nowhere near reaching a peak. And, in a twist, just this morning the US Government released this report: “A new intelligence assessment of global trends projects that China will outstrip the United States as the leading economic power before 2030…”

Balenciaga may have made a very smart decision. I look forward to Wang’s first runway show for them.