Of course, that doesn't mean he's pulling the ego card and turning Balenciaga into Alexander Wang 2.0. "Forever and always I’ll remember that the name on the door is Balenciaga," said Wang. "I think it’s great to do something that is completely another side of what I do." Instead, the designer is adjusting to his new role in fashion's high society by channeling all of his memories of the iconic designer — think strong silhouettes, structured shoulders, and restraint in design. He's also getting used to being just another employee in a large corporation, a dramatic change from his position as head honcho at his namesake label. "It’s...very different to go from being an employer to an employee," said Wang. "And you know, being at the studio here, understanding the needs of the company and what it’s like to be on that side has enabled me to adapt to an environment and have a different exploration of it. The studio itself and the teams were so welcoming."
Welcoming, sure, but there's no question that his new environment is incredibly different. Take the office uniform for example — when the Dazed and Confused team showed up for the interview, Balenciaga employees were "suited and booted," while Wang donned his signature outfit of black Chuck Taylors and a black T-shirt. Also, when it comes to daytime hydration, he sticks to drinking straight from the water bottle while his counterparts sip from tiny, fancy glasses (Americans, non?). Turns out Wang is still down-to-earth in every aspect — even his entourage. "Everyone always thinks I have this big gang, but now more so than ever I’m close to the people I’ve known from the beginning and who I’ve grown up with," he said. "That’s how it is. It’s maybe not as glamorous as some people might want it to be." Now, that's our kind of fashion designer. Click over to Dazed and Confused for the full interview, and a crash course in Balenciaga's history. (Dazed and Confused)