Is Nicolas Ghesquière Following in Karl Lagerfeld's Footsteps?
When a fashion house or a brand appoints their creative director, it isn’t simply a task of finding someone to take over the design. Typically, they’re looking for someone to rebrand the line, to reinvent it in every possible department, and to suffuse it with their personality and aesthetic. In fashion, it’s a creative director’s job to strike the perfect balance between individuality and the brand’s identity, which is not only a challenging task, but often requires sacrifices to be made.
It was this particular aspect of a creative director’s role that came to mind when Nicolas Ghesquière announced his intention to launch his own eponymous label in the near future, apparently on French talk show “Le Petit Journal.” After 15 years as the creative director of Balenciaga, and now approaching his third year as creative director of women’s Louis Vuitton, it seems only natural that he’d be itching to start something entirely on his own.
And the announcement isn’t exactly an unpopular opinion as of late either. With creative directors and designers playing “musical chairs” like there’s no tomorrow, the future of the luxury industry is, as of yet, uncertain. What is, however, undeniable is that fashion’s luxury giants are having trouble holding onto their creative masterminds. As many have noted, there seems to be a three-year trend: Hedi Slimane left Saint Laurent after three years, and Alexander Wang left Balenciaga after the same duration as well. It didn’t take long for the epidemic to latch onto LVMH; both Christian Dior and Edun are still creative directionless. It’s almost as if the industry has turned into a swarm of headless chickens (non-GMO, organic, and free-range, bien sûr).
When asked about this supposed three-year curse, Ghesquière apparently told told Yann Barthès, host of “Le Petit Journal,” “It’s sad, because there’s beautiful associations; there are these grand houses, who bring in these designers, and the designers bring them to a new stage…It’s always sad to see those chapters end, but you always hope to see them somewhere else.”
As Ghesquière’s three-year anniversary at Vuitton approaches in November, whispers of his departure are beginning to swirl about, making its way through the industry like wildfire. Since his 2014 interview with The Wall Street Journal, in which he spoke about the possibility of launching his own label “one day,” Ghesquière has come a long way. However, he still speaks of launching his own eponymous line with extreme caution. When Barthès asked him, straight up, whether we can expect this in the near future, he responded with, “I hope so,” and “I could do it.” Could he be hinting that he’s about to pull a Karl Lagerfeld and tackle both design houses at once? Barthès, echoing all of our curiosities and concerns, probed further and asked for a timeline. To which Ghesquière responded in top diplomatic form, “I would like to do it soon. I don’t have a date, but I’ll come back to tell you.”
Will Ghesquière surprise us all by staying steadfastly committed to Vuitton as well as his own personal growth? Only time will tell.
Stay tuned to Milk for more design house dispatches.
Images via Tumblr, Vogue, and System Magazine.