He makes his debut for Balenciaga with a collection of near-monastic black-and-white looks in clean, spare shapes—cocoon jackets, peplumed tops, and sleek trousers—that resurrect some of the house’s classic silhouettes.
He successfully melded his own innovations with those of the founding designer, and vastly expanded the brand’s commercial reach. His work soon turned Balenciaga into a critically acclaimed fashion house in the 2000s.
Nicolas Ghesquière (“A stellar fashion revolutionary reputation”, as Vogue’s editor Sarah Mower wrote) piloted such a huge number of trends over the past decade. Just one example: why did we find ourselves suddenly wearing extreme platforms from 2006 onwards? It was Nicolas Ghesquière in his fall 2006 show.
On November 4, 2013, it was announced that Ghesquière is the new artistic director of Louis Vuitton – just weeks after Marc Jacobs had announced that he was retiring from the house after his swan song Parisian show.
In the world of postwar Parisian fashion, Cristobal Balenciaga was very influential. Christian Dior once said “Haute couture is like an orchestra, whose conductor is Balenciaga. We, other couturiers are the musicians and we follow the directions he gives.” Even the sharp tongue of Coco Chanel softened in deference to his skills: “He is a couturier in the truest sense of the word. Only he is capable of cutting material, assembling a creation, and sewing it by hand.”
Nicolas Ghesquière was totally unknown when he was handed the helm of Balenciaga at the age of 25, so he had a lot to prove when he was appointed to lead the house in 1997. Quite masterfully, however, he delivered. He successfully melded his own innovations with those of the founding designer, and vastly expanded the brand’s commercial reach. His work soon turned Balenciaga into a critically acclaimed fashion house in the 2000s. The Gucci Group bought Balenciaga in 2001. On November 5, 2012, it was announced that Ghesquière was to leave his role as creative director of Balenciaga after 15 years in the role, being replaced by Alexander Wang.