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Rumors Surface After Balenciaga Brings American PR In-House

>> Yesterday, Balenciaga announced that after 12 years of partnership with Pierre Rougier's PR Consulting, it is severing all ties and bringing US public relations in-house.  The switch is "a normal evolution," according to Lionel Vermeil, communications director for Balenciaga.

WWD cites sources, however, who say otherwise.  Some are speculating that tensions between the two rose after a Balenciaga designer left for a job with a New York-based label which PR Consulting represents (the company's stable includes Proenza Schouler, Vera Wang, Narciso Rodriguez, Rag & Bone, L'Wren Scott, and Zero + Maria Cornejo). Others suggested that Balenciaga execs were upset with what they saw as too-close similarities between Nicolas Ghesquiere's designs and those of other PR Consulting clients. The Cut notes that when Carine Roitfeld and the Vogue Paris team were banned from Balenciaga's show in March, similar rumors that Carine had loaned Max Mara a coat, which their design studio copied before sending back, popped up.

Rougier responds »

Pierre Rougier wouldn't comment on the rumors, but he did say of the loss — Balenciaga is "widely considered one of PR Consulting’s crown jewels," WWD notes — “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.”

The new role of US director of PR for Balenciaga is expected to be filled next week.

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