Designer Alexander Wang has opened his largest flagship store to date in London. Amid his departure from Balenciaga, the designer’s store opening spells good news for his eponymous brand as it expands in the British capital.
“I always knew that London would be the first city that I would want to open a flagship in in Europe,” said Wang to Vogue. “It’s our largest European market and it’s one of my favourite cities in the world. I think that London has the best shopping in the world. There’s just so many options, so many great stores – I mean, Harrods is a mecca – you can buy anything there for anyone!” The 625 square-metre space was designed by architect Vincent Van Duysen and spans four floors on 43-44 Albemarle Street in the heart of London’s Mayfair area. Wang will have neighbouring Dover Street and Savile Row to keep him company – streets known for their high fashion, luxury offerings in the capital. Moreover, the former post office building that the designer has chosen to be his new London home will allow him the chance to exhibit collections from various design categories, which Wang admits he wasn’t able to do back in New York from where he hails. “People always say ‘downtown’ to describe me, and yes, I live downtown geographically, but I love uptown and I love midtown and I love doing things that aren’t always the predictable things that people associate me with,” said the designer. “I think people look at me and they see youth and that I hang out with models – and yes, that’s a part of who some of my friends are and some of the places that I have been, but I love trying other things. Even when I work with magazines sometimes, they want to see me against a black wall with graffiti on it. Sometimes you just want to do other things and express other sides.”
The news comes hot on the heels of the announcement that Balenciaga won’t be renewing Wang’s contract as creative director. Now that he won’t have to spend time in both Paris and New York, where Balenciaga and his namesake brand were based respectively, it would seem the designer might have more time on his hands; yet he seems as excited as ever to start the next chapter in his career. “I can’t tell myself to stop sometimes,” he admits. “If I’m working and I’m in the middle of the process, or whatever it is, sometimes you do have to slow down and eat something or whatever. But if there’s something going on that I get excited about, my excitement is very hard to compress.”