Nicolas Ghesquière

Ghesquière, Nicolas (1971)

Nicolas Ghesquière, the haute couture futurist

Nicolas Ghesquière is a French fashion designer born on 9 May 1971 in Comines. He was creative director of Balenciaga from 1997 to 2012 and, since 2013, artistic director of Louis Vuitton. Nicolas Ghesquiere has earned a reputation as the most original designer of his generation. Ghesquière has received numerous awards and accolades for his creativity including in 2001, the International Designer Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America. In 2007, he was appointed Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and in December 2014, the British Fashion Awards named him International Designer of the Year.  

The beginning of his career: Jean Paul Gaultier and Balenciaga

In the early 1990s, he worked as assistant to the famous French fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier. After a few years he left the position to devote himself to freelancing. In 1997, he joined Balenciaga, replacing Thimister. During his tenure, the designer refreshed the aesthetics of a fashion house in decline. During his direction, sales doubled in the first three years. His collections, including trends inspired by the 1980s and the iconic Lariat bag, are well received by customers.  

Nicolas Ghesquière
Lariat bag by Ghesquière for Balenciaga

  For autumn/winter 2004, the designer designed a collection consisting mainly of leather outerwear with an oversize line. The biker jacket, covered with a thick layer of shearling, became a seasonal trend. With the spring/summer 2007 collection, Ghesquière was inspired by the world of robotics, bringing gold and bronze leggings with a commercial value of $100,000 to the catwalk. The famous singer Beyoncé wore them during BET in 2007.  

Louis Vuitton

Sixteen years after his debut at Balenciaga, Nicolas Ghesquière was appointed creative director of Louis Vuitton, just a few weeks after Marc Jacobs‘ farewell to the brand. It’s 2013.

“Louis Vuitton has always embodied, for me, the idea of luxury, innovation and exploration,” says Ghesquiére. “I am very honoured by the mission entrusted to me and proud to become part of the history of this great Maison. We share common values and visions.”

While maintaining the brand’s traditional values, all the collections show Ghesquière’s fascination with digital technology, multi-ethnic mixes and punk references. They also served as a continuum to the designer’s previous creative work. One example among many is the autumn/winter 2014 collection of A-line jackets, belted (1970s style), combined with fabrics and colours designed to symbolise the timeless style for which LV is prized.

Louis Vuitton, autumn/winter 2014 collection

In 2018, the collaboration with iconoclast Rei Kawakubo (already active in 2014 with Jacobs) returns for a series of “Bag Whit Holes” bags; a project that also returns in 2021 for the men’s line directed by Virgil Abloh.

With Nicholas Ghesquière, Louis Vuitton’s shows also take place in cultural venues, as attested by the pop-inspired (and Stranger Things on Netflix) Resort 2018 collection presented at the Miho Museum in Kyoto.

In 2021, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, Nicolas is forced to present the collection digitally (but staged under the dome of La Samaritaine), he creates a fashion show with a 360° view. The spectators, connected via live streaming, saw footage of some clips by director Wim Wenders, such as some scenes from ‘The Sky Over Berlin’ (1987).

Nicolas Ghesquière
Louis Vuitton, spring/summer 2021 collection

Having undoubtedly contributed to Louis Vuitton’s recent success, in November 2023 the fashion house renewed Ghesquière’s contract for another five years.  


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