Nicolas Ghesquière leaves Balenciaga after 15 years
Let the fashion musical chairs begin!
After 15 years helming Balenciaga, Nicolas Ghesquière, who has been responsible for the brand’s spectacular renaissance, is parting ways with the French fashion label.
François-Henri Pinault, chairman and CEO of PPR – formerly the Gucci Group, who bought the label in 2000 – has stated “Cristóbal Balenciaga was a master, a genius whose avant-garde vision dictated fashion’s greatest trends and inspired generations of designers. With an incomparable creative talent, Nicolas has brought to Balenciaga an artistic contribution essential to the unique influence of the house.”
A legatee is yet to be named, and Ghesquièreis’ successor will have huge shoes to fill. The man and the label have been in cahoots since 1997, and until today remained one of the longest spanning partnerships in “the contemporary French fashion houses, matched only by Marc Jacobs at Louis Vuitton, who also took the reins in 1997, and exceeded, of course, by Karl Lagerfeld’s nearly 30-year tenure at Chanel”, points out Styleite.
Ghesquière began his career as Jean Paul Gaultier’s apprentice, and was initially hired by Balenciaga to design “among other things, funeral clothes for the Japanese licensing market.” Two year later, at the age of 25, he was promoted to creative director.
Though then he was a relatively unknown designer, Ghesquière has since been credited with not only reviving, but also reinventing the house, as “while Balenciaga boasted a tremendous legacy, it had fallen out of fashion.” Ghesquière’s vision and unrelenting commitment to innovation is remarkable, as season after season his reto-futuristic minimalistic collections have been consistently directional and trend-predicating, with architectural structure and arresting silhouettes the brand’s – and every high street knock-off – signature style.
As WWD elucidates, “the news of the separation comes only a month after Ghesquière staged one of the most acclaimed shows of the spring 2013 fashion season” where both K-Stew and Anna Wintour smiled. There is speculation that Ghesquièreis is looking to break out and initiate an eponymous label, or perhaps this move will catalyse a whole new shake-up across the fashion houses – just as things were beginning to quieten down. Personally, we’re just waiting for these Egyptofunk sweaters to go on sale: