Style: Reasons to be excited about Nicolas Ghesquière

All is well in the fashion industry once more as the chasm at Louis Vuitton was filled by the announcement of Nicolas Ghesquière as new Creative Director last week. The post has been empty since Marc Jacobs departed to spend more time on his eponymous label in New York. For me though, a more important question has been settled. What will happen to one of the industry’s most forward-thinking and rule-bending creative visionaries Ghesquière?

While he may not yet enjoy the household status of the Lagerfelds and Jacobs of his contemporaries, Ghesquière is fashion’s dark horse. Taking the somewhat stale (at the time) Balenciaga and injecting his signature starry-eyed cool, he took the brand to stratospheric levels of influence. Although the average fashion consumer may not be able to recall his light bulb, trend-starting moments off the cuff, they certainly wore them for many seasons to come: think that moment in The Devil Wears Prada where Meryl Streep tells Anne Hathaway off for scoffing at the importance of a belt.

Suzy Menkes once called him, “the most intriguing and original designer of his generation” and having taken on the daunting task of reimagining Balenciaga at only 25, his achievements are difficult to exaggerate. Now still only in his 40s, he’s being given the incredible funds and huge responsibility of taking Louis Vuitton in a new direction and for me, that’s very exciting.

Although Louis Vuitton may be best known for monogrammed leather goods, they certainly put on a show at Paris Fashion Week and with Ghesquière we’re sure to see a fresh take on the signature look. If Ghesquière has proved he can do anything, it’s taking an iconic label and twisting and blurring the lines to create something exciting, beautiful and brand new.

To help you wait things out until his first show, here are my predictions on what the future holds for this power collaboration.

The new IT Bag

Balenciaga Lariat Bag

The Balenciaga Lariat bag was one of the original IT bags and spawned a thousand high street imitations. Are we about to see Ghesquière’s highly wearable brand of luxury be reinvented for a new handbag generation?

The Statement Shoe

Fall 06

For A/W 2006, Balenciaga introduced impossibly high platforms that came out of nowhere. For years to come fashionistas have tottered around miles from the ground, are we about to see the next statement shoe?

The Must-Have Print

Balenciaga SS08

Does it seem like floral prints are everywhere right now? Guess who started this trend in S/S08?

The New Minimalism

Balenciaga SS13

Street style icons everywhere are rocking black midi-waists with white tops, inspired in a huge way by classic Balenciaga, in particular S/S13 when the designer gave us sleek minimal lines with bold, new shapes like the unravelling skirt that was the highlight of this collection.

The Return of K-Stew

 Kristen Stewart Balenciaga

What with a cheating scandal and the end of Twilight, she’s not everyone’s favourite actor right now, but I have a serious soft spot for this girl and as Ghesquière’s best mate, I’m hoping to see her front row once more.


Style: Alexander Wang for Balenciaga AW13

With the gaze of the world on him Thursday, Alexander Wang followed in Raf Simons’ footsteps and showed his critics that a minimalist young streetwear designer can breathe life into one of Paris’s most venerable couture houses. The collection of classic, tailored pieces has received a warm welcome, with the New York Times proclaiming that Balenciaga is, “in good hands.”

Balenciaga AW13 Alexander Wang

As the models stepped out onto a cracked marble runway, it may well have been a metaphor for the way Wang has lightly woven his individual aesthetic into the design house, which after 15 under the direction of Nicolas Ghesquiere was at something of a cross roads. If Wang hasn’t made a drastic turn, he has taken a confident first step in right direction.

The 29-year-old American designer presented a highly polished collection that clearly referenced the label’s history yet never seemed retro. Taking the typical Balenciaga mono-chrome colour scheme and strong silhouette, Wang added patches of fur and asymmetric lines for a sharp, futuristic look that can fairly be described as a modern classic.

Balenciaga AW13 Alexander Wang

Wang has long been one of my favourite designers thanks to his ability to create grungy minimalist pieces that still retain a certain femininity, at a price point that young women can actually realistically afford (check out his pieces on The Outnet for some bargains).  By placing him at the helm of Balenciaga, PPR have made a clever business decision by anticipating that he can bring that certain wearability to the house. The dresses, tops, trousers and skirts showed clean lines and a determined precision, that retained that couture elegance but are sure to appeal to a much wider audience: attracting a hoard of younger women to become loyal fans and hopefully for PPR, customers.