Over the course of his 15 years at the helm of Balenciaga, Nicolas Ghesquière completely reinvented and revitalized the fashion house while still remaining true to its DNA. He was adored by editors and critics for deftly combining brand founder Cristóbal Balenciaga’s signature broad-shouldered, bubble-skirted, couture silhouettes with avant-garde flourishes like barbed wire trim (Spring 2013), sci-fi graphic sweatshirts (Fall 2013) and hothouse florals (Spring 2008). During his tenure, his masterful work earned the label legions of celebrity fans, including Charlotte Gainsbourg, Jennifer Connelly and, most recently, Florabotanica face Kristen Stewart.
But as of November 30, Balenciaga’s creative director since 1997 will be stepping down from his post. According to WWD, Ghesquière and Balenciaga’s owners at PPR have reached a "“joint decision to end their working relationship." This is a particularly shocking move—even in the midst of this past year’s seemingly endless game of designer musical chairs—considering Ghesquière’s unanimously-praised collections. In a press release, PPR founder François-Henri Pinault called the designer “an incomparable creative talent." No word yet on where Ghesquière is headed or who might replace him.
Photo: WWD/Steve Eichner
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