INTRODUCING NICOLAS GHESQUIERE
If you haven’t heard of Nicolas Ghesquiere the reason is perhaps because the designer likes to keep himself “a little hidden”.
Ghesquiere has never sought to be famous. Being a household name has never been his ambition. That may be more difficult for the designer now that Louis Vuitton has announced his appointment as artistic director of its women’s collections to succeed Marc Jacobs.
Ghesquiere, 42, comes to Louis Vuitton from Balenciaga where he as been artistic director for 15 years, transforming it into one of the most forward-thinking luxury brands in the world with his sculptural tailoring and use of ultra-modern fabrics.
Born in 1971 in Comines, France, he grew up in Loudon – a small medieval town in the Loire region.
He interned at Agnes B and Corinne Cobson during the school holidays. “I watched, I photocopied, I made coffee,” he told the New York Times.
At age 19 he scored his dream job as assistant designer to Jean Paul Gaultier. He also worked briefly as head designer at Trussardi.
In 1995 he joined Balenciaga as a licensed product designer and in 1997 was appointed the label’s new creative director. His collections were so popular that Balenciaga’s flagship store in Paris was unable to meet the demands of the crowds that gathered their daily.
He won the Vogue/VH1 Avant Garde Designer of the Year Award, followed by the CFDA womenswear Designer of the Year title in 2001.
In 2002 his green silk crop combat pants were the most copied garment of the season.
Respected fashion writer Suzy Menkes of the International Herald Tribune described him as “the most intriguing and original designer of his generation”.
Interviewed for Fashion Now 2 (Taschen), when asked to describe his design signature, Ghesquiere replied “I can’t define what I do and I don’t really want to. If people interpret this or that in a certain way, it’s fine. It’s done for that reason – to be open,” he said. “What I do is always because of last season, not a reaction against it. I always want to find a surprising way to go, but beneath that I want to try and say the same things.”
His first women’s collection for Louis Vuitton will be presented in Paris in March 2014.