Just last month, tongues were hotly sent wagging when it was announced that Marc Jacobs had left Louis Vuitton after serving as the French luxury label’s Creative Director for 16 years to focus on his own own line. As soon as this news broke out, the rumor mill started churning at full steam, and the most obvious question on everybody’s lips was: who is going to replace his empty post Louis Vuitton?
The most prominent name thrown around to replace Jacobs was none other than Nicolas Ghesquière, otherwise known as the man who was praised for resurrecting Balenciaga after he was charged with the task of being its Creative Director back in 1997. The word most commonly used to describe his body of work was “innovative,” which was exactly what the Spanish fashion house needed at the time of his employment: prior to Ghesquière’s arrival, Balenciaga trusted its direction in the 1990s to Josephus Thimister. The Dutchman had the enormous task of resuscitating an artistically flailing label that had lost touch of its founder’s minimalist philosophy and flair. He either did not do enough, or did not accomplish a turnaround fast enough for Balenciaga before he was shown the exit after less than six years. But under Ghesquière’s care, Balenciaga turned into a fashion powerhouse that became a favorite among fashion editors and celebrities in a few short years; in a way, Ghesquière successfully instilled a new surge of life and energy into Balenciaga in a manner that parallelled Jacobs’ contribution to Louis Vuitton.
Despite his success at Balenciaga, Ghesquière’s departure was a shock that seemed to have left a bitter aftertaste in the metaphorical mouths of by both parties involved. Rumors flew, with whispers suggesting that his abrupt departure in November 2012 said to have been caused by a change in business direction and lack of support from Balenciaga’s parent company, Kering (then known as PPR). Whatever the reason, the departure was received with bewilderment by the fashion community, and in September of this year, the Spanish house filed a defamation lawsuit against him for more than USD 9 million. All bad blood aside, there is no denying the importance of his work in reviving the label.
I enjoy Ghesquière’s work, especially with his uncanny ability to make a woman look like a legionnaire from the waist up and like a Disney fairy from the waist down. I think LV got the better end of the deal when they hired him, and it’ll be interesting to see what a Frenchman does in a legendary French fashion house. Check out these snippets from his last Balenciaga show, SS ’13!
Do you think Ghesquière is a right fit at Louis Vuitton, or should they have picked out someone else to fill the vacuum that Jacobs left behind?