This just in: Nicolas Ghesquière is leaving Balenciaga! WWD is reporting that the Balenciaga and the much-heralded French designer, who helped reinvent and catapult the brand into fashion’s big leagues, have made a 'joint decision' to end their working relationship.
'Cristobal Balenciaga was a master, a genius whose avant-garde vision dictated fashion's greatest trends and inspired generations of designers,' said PPR Chairman and CEO Francois-Henri Pinault in a statement. 'With an incomparable creative talant, Nicolas has brought to Balenciaga an artistic contribution essential to the unique influence of the house.' The decision will be effective from 30th November. What a shocker.
Ghesquière has been credited with reinvigorating Balenciaga during his 15 year tenure as creative director. He worked as an assistant to designer Jean-Paul Gaultier from 1990 until 1992 before designing knitwear for Pôles. Thanks to his contacts with Marie-Amélie Sauve and Nathalie Marrec of Balenciaga, Ghesquière eventually landed a job doing the licensing for Balenciaga and designing for the Asian market. It was from there that he was chosen to be the new designer for the French fashion house, which had limited success since the label's founder, Cristóbal Balenciaga, died in 1972.
Ghesquière with Kristen Stewart at the SS13 show
The 25-year-old Ghesquière was a surprise choice to take the helm at Balenciaga. He was promoted to creative director in 1997 after his Belgian predecessor Josephus Thimister was fired following a highly unsuccessful show. Balenciaga heads realised his talent when he designed a small collection for one of their Japanese licences. His collections have been a massive success, especially commercially, and the brand became highly influential as the must-have luxury label.
Kristen Stewart, the face of the fashion house's new fragrance Florabotanica, has credited Ghesquière with changing her view on fashion. During a live online interview to promote the scent, she said: 'He's really one of the only guys I've ever met in [fashion] that makes me feel like I'm working for a director. He's really creatively impulsive. Fashion can be a very superficial, surface-level thing that is all about money and image, but he really creates a show. You can pull clothes out of a show and it's like watching a movie.'
So the question is: who will fill Ghesquière's very big boots? Our bets are on Christopher Kane taking the Balenciaga helm - wouldn't that be ah-mazing?! - while names including Alexander Wang, Joseph Altuzarra and Peter Copping have also been thrown into the mix. Who've you got your bets on? And does this mean Ghesquière will be launching his own line? Watch this space...