When the great Christobel Balenciaga closed the doors of his couture house in 1968, he lamented, “There is no one left worth dressing”. For decades, the house lay dormant; until 26-year-old Frenchman Nicolas Ghesquière was appointed creative director of Balenciaga in 1997 after the departure of Josephus Thimister. Nicolas had been quietly freelancing for Balenciaga’s licenses since 1995. Three years later, he won the Vogue/VH1 Avant-Garde Designer of the Year Award. Suzy Menkes of The International Herald Tribune called him “the most intriguing and original designer of his generation”. Though relatively unknown when he was appointed to Balenciaga, Nicolas already had a life in fashion. He won work placements at agnes b. and Corinne Cobson while still at school in Loudon, central France. At 19, he became an assistant designer to Gaultier and then Mugler, before a brief tenure as head designer at Trussardi. But his great achievement was his revival of Balenciaga. His green silk crop combat pants for spring/summer 2002 were the most copied garment of the season and Neoprene mini skirts and dresses from spring/summer 2003 kept Balenciaga on the edge, creatively and commercially. In 2002, a menswear line was launched; a year after the house of Balenciaga was bought by the Gucci Group. He was elected as one of ‘The 100 Most Influential People in the World’ by Time Magazine in 2005, and awarded the prestigious Insigne de Chavalier des Arts et des Lettres for his continued creativity in 2008. Under Nicolas’ influence, Balanciaga grew to seven extremely lusted-after diffusion lines: Balenciaga Edition, a collection of items inspired by Christobel Balenciaga’s haute couture archives, Balenciaga leathers, Balenciaga pants, Balenciaga knits, Balenciaga Denim, Balenciaga black Dress and Balenciaga Silk. In 2010, i-D Paris Editor Sarah Hay interviewed Nicolas for The Home is where the Heart is Issue (extract here). The news reached the papers yesterday (November 5th) that Nicolas had departed the house, but we wait for more.
BALENCIAGA. Paris, 27/09/12
MATTHEW STONE shares his manifesto on the importance of optimism and, above all, love in The Just Kids Issue.
BALENCIAGA. Paris, 01/03/12.
BALENCIAGA BY NICOLAS GHESQUIÈRE. Paris, 29/09/11
The Hedonist Issue is available now! Breathe it, prove it, own it, love it, live it, work it.
Curated by Hamish Bowles, BALENCIAGA: Spanish Master is now on view at New York’s Queen Sofia Spanish Institute.
i-D Paris Editor Sarah Hay interviews Nicolas Ghesquière for The Home is Where the Heart Is Issue.
1. Aquascutum 2. Balenciaga 3. Celine 4. Christopher Kane 5. Hakaan 6. Miu Miu 7. Marc Jacobs 8. Proenza Schouler 9.
Originally appeared in The Pain and Pleasure Issue, April 2009.
Originally appeared in The Offspring Issue, September 2007.
As seen in The Studio Issue, March 2004.
Originally appeared in The Landscape Issue, March 2002.