By now most of you already know that Nicolas Ghesquière, the creative director of Balenciaga for the last 15 years, is leaving his post. Maybe for some the news is saddening while others embrace the change. Then there are those whose reaction is probably something like Ghesquière who? and that is okay too. Whether you know the man or not, it is very likely that you have seen plenty of his design.
If you are interested in knowing more about his career without going into much detail then Hamish Bowles wrote a short and informative piece on the website of Vogue called 'Bidding Balenciaga Farewell: Nicolas Ghesquière's Fifteen Years at the House' (Bowles wrote the book Balenciaga and Spain: Spanish Master about the founder of the brand, Cristóbal Balenciaga (1895-1972)).
In today's post I'm quoting from Bowles's article about Ghesquière and the photos are from a piece in T Magazine called 'A Look Back at Nicolas's Balenciaga in T', which is filled with interesting photos.
'When I was a boy, I didn’t want to go play with the other kids,' he told me in an extensive interview in early 2011. 'Instead, I was drawing all the time—cars and clothes! One day—I must have been ten years old or so—my aunt looked at what I was doing and she said, ‘You know, Nicolas, what you are doing is fashion drawing. You are designing clothes.’ And as soon as I realized that there was this thing called fashion—that there were fashion designers—that was it! I understood instantly that that was going to be my thing. Really and truly, there were no questions after that of what I wanted to do in life.'
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In July 2001, the Gucci Group acquired Balenciaga with Ghesquière at the helm, and he was able to take the brand to new heights ... At this time, the company acquired the remarkable Cristóbal Balenciaga Archive, a resource that Ghesquière had not previously had access to, and being able to examine Balenciaga’s remarkable construction techniques and innovative silhouettes and textiles first hand added a significant new dimension to Ghesquière’s own fanatically perfectionist work for the house. 'Suddenly I had access to all these extraordinary things—I discovered the gazar, the balloon shape, the diamond construction,' he has noted. He successfully grafted the master’s signatures onto clothes that were never nostalgic but instead always relentlessly modern and forward-looking, and often incorporated sportswear elements that reflected his childhood interests in fencing, swimming, and riding. Inspired by his discoveries in the archives, Ghesquière added the Edition collection, curating several archive garments a season and translating them into ready to wear whilst scrupulously reproducing the original’s cut, textile, and embellishment.
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NOTES À LA MODE 20 LINKS
Balenciaga ad campaign from 2006, photographed by David Sims and featuring model Coco Rocha (preview to the left)
• One of my favourite Balenciaga looks by Ghesquière in an editorial is this white dress from the Autumn 2005 Collection that appeared in the July 2005 issue of Vogue US
• Another favourite of mine by Ghesquière in an editorial is this flowery dress from the Spring 2008 Collection that I pinned yesterday
• One extra link: I have added a new book to my aStore on Amazon: Masters of Fashion Illustration by David Downton
1: Boo George 2: Sebastian Kim 3: Cass Bird for T Magazine / 4: David Sims for Balenciaga via Classiq