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Balenciaga Reportedly Dropped Their Longtime PR Firm Last Year Because of Attention Paid to Versace

>> Last May, when Balenciaga severed its 12-year relationship with public relations firm PR Consulting, rumors circulated that it was the result of a Balenciaga designer leaving to work for one of the firm's other clients and that some of the client's designs were too similar to Balenciaga. Now, WSJ. reports that insiders at PPR say Nicolas Ghesquiere felt slighted by the attention Pierre Rougier was giving to Versace, his newest client, at the Costume Institute gala last year. It's worth noting the decision to drop PR Consulting was made within two weeks of the gala at the beginning of May.

At the time of the severance, Rougier said: “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.” And now, he tells WSJ. simply, "I love Nicolas."

Post-Balenciaga, Rougier seems to be doing fine. Alongside Versace, he counts among his clients Yves Saint Laurent, Jil Sander, Dries Van Noten, and Proenza Schouler. He is "notoriously picky about whom he takes on," according to the WSJ., and "can lift a brand to another level . . . his job is to keep the Americans, whose critical opinions drive international buying trends, in line."

Vera Wang president Mario Grauso avers this fact — one of the first things he did when joining Wang a year and a half ago was hire Rougier: "Vera had gone dark — hadn't done enough media, wasn't dressing celebrities. Pierre helped me change that. We [at Vera Wang] can veer a little too mainstream, a little too bridal-y. I wanted to be edgier and Pierre knew how to do that." Grauso also credits Rougier with bringing top European press to Wang's shows, admitting it's "something we couldn't do without him."

But cultivating brands isn't all Rougier aspires to — apparently he wants to get more involved with advising the venture capital and investment side of fashion, WSJ. reports: "Too many backers choose the wrong horse in the race, he says, and then are flummoxed when throwing money at the problem doesn't solve it."

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