Balenciaga is pulling its business from PR Consulting, the Pierre Rougier-led firm that has handled its public relations for the past 12 years, and bringing responsibility for U.S. p.r. in-house. And the house wasted no time in spreading the news, which was first reported on WWD.com, and put out feelers for meetings with editors in mid-June, when the Paris team will be in New York with the pre-spring collection. Further, the new role of U.S. director of public relations for Balenciaga is expected to be filled next week. Why the switch? “It’s a normal evolution,” Lionel Vermeil, communications director for Balenciaga, told WWD.
However, sources said tensions sprang from a staffing switch — a Balenciaga designer had left the French house for a job with a New York-based label that was also represented by PR Consulting. Others speculated Balenciaga executives were generally upset with what they saw as too-close similarities between Nicolas Ghesquière’s designs and those of other PR Consulting clients.
This story first appeared in the May 13, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Asked about losing Balenciaga — widely considered one of PR Consulting’s crown jewels — Rougier wouldn’t comment on the rumors, but told WWD, “It’s been a wonderful 12-year adventure with Balenciaga and I really wish Nicolas and Balenciaga all the best and lots of luck going forward. It’s been really great and I really don’t want it to seem any other way.”