He is considered a forward-thinker whose complex visions playfully transform tradition and futurism into sought-after contemporary fashion. Nicolas Ghesquière, who has been in charge of Louis Vuitton’s creative fate since 2013, is used to following in the footsteps of great masters.
If it’s true that Nicolas Ghesquière plans to present the 2018 cruise collection for Louis Vuitton exclusively in Tokyo, then it will be a flashback to the early days of his successful career. That was where he worked as a designer for Balenciaga’s Japan franchise back in 1995 and was surrounded by black: he designed suits for widows in the Far East. But then his meteoric ascent began – as a “stopgap”.
Born in the provinces of northern France in 1971, the designer declared at the tender age of 12 that he knew exactly what he wanted to do: fashion. He turned his adolescent rebellion against everything that the countryside around Comines had to offer in the way of career prospects into an earnest pursuit at 15, when he was hired by French designer agnès b. Ghesquière has never studied fashion; instead, he has learnt the craft by gaining practical experience. In the early ’90s he spent two years as Jean-Paul Gaultier’s assistant, after which he was under contract at various fashion labels.
Fashion icon, not stopgap
When the position of creative director at Balenciaga became available in 1997, Yohji Yamamoto turned it down and Helmut Lang was too expensive. So – out of embarrassment rather than anything else – the label resorted to Ghesquière, who was working in Japan at the time…and history was made. 15 years of success have passed since then.
Ghesquière filled Cristobal Balenciaga’s formidable shoes with apparent ease – and then made them even more formidable by helping to shape the future of the brand. The former specialist in mourning dress raised the label from its descent into insignificance to the heights of one of the most sought-after fashion labels in the world. In 2006 Times Magazine named him one of the world’s 100 most influential people, and in 2007 the French government declared him a “Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres”.
Tradition and future
In 2014, a year after joining Louis Vuitton, the Wall Street Journal designated Ghesquière their “Fashion Innovator of the Year”. The moment he presented his first womenswear collection for Louis Vuitton it was clear that he would have no trouble following in Marc Jacob’s footsteps, while simultaneously developing his own trends that would go on to have a lasting impact on the world of fashion. His feminine heroines who are just as at home in the virtual world as in our tangible reality all share the same trait: they are strong women who make an impact on the world.
On the red carpets, too, Ghesqiuère has caused a furore. Carefully selected collaborations with actors such as Alicia Vikander, Michelle Williams and most recently Ruth Negga, who are more famous for arthouse productions than mainstream blockbusters, make his fashion creations seem all the more spectacular.
Cruise Collection 2016
Glimpses of Nicolas’ private life
The creative director of Louis Vuitton on Instagram