Louis Vuitton announced on November 4, 2013 that Nicolas Ghesquiere has been named Creative Director. (Karim Sadli/Louis Vuitton Press Office, via Landov)
After months of speculation, Louis Vuitton has confirmed Nicholas Ghesquière will take over as the new artistic director of womenswear. [Read our 'Don't believe everything you hear..' article here!]
Since Ghesquière’s abrupt departure from Balenciaga last November, there has been much speculation over his next move. The 42-year-old takes over for Marc Jacobs, who stepped down from the role in October following the Spring/Summer 2014 show in Paris. Ghesquière will bring his long-term collaborator and stylist Marie Amélie Sauvé with him, and there are rumors that his former first assistant at Balenciaga, Natacha Ramsay, will also join his team.
Despite bitter endings, the designer’s 15-year term at Balenciaga was defined as a phenomenal success. As early as 2001, Suzy Menkes of The International Herald Tribune said, “Nicolas Ghesquière is the most intriguing and original designer of his generation. His collections are explorations of shape, volume, and embellishment that seem totally new—yet reflect in a glancing, abstract way the style of the iconic design house that shelters him.”
His work amassed such a cult following that it inspired the pertinent (now-defunct) Tumblr, Balenciaga Did It First, and his exacting mix of sportswear, tailoring, and shapes cut with couture-like precision defined the fashion landscape for many seasons. The fashion world largely has Ghesquière to thank for popularizing everything from bra tops and sculpted sleeves (although Cristobal Balenciaga did do that first), to graphic slogan sweaters—like those from the Balenciaga Fall 2012 collection that still remain the most photographed street style look in recent memory.
It’s also probable that Ghesquière, whose approach to womenswear recalls that of studied couturiers, will focus on instilling a more elite sensibility to the collections and the brand at large. It poses the question: will the spectacular Louis Vuitton presentations at Paris Fashion Week be a thing of the past? The media has come to anticipate fantastical sets, not to mention generous ticket allocations, at the Louis Vuitton shows. But, large-scale events and theatrics are not Ghesquière’s way: he prefers intimate, more traditional presentations.
Regardless, the new artistic director will assuredly take the brand (which celebrates its 160th anniversary next year) to an exciting new place—it’s sure to be an interesting ride come March.