BY MICHAEL GHOSSAINY
It has been a classic game of musical chairs in the world of fashion, designers shifting from one house to the next, and others getting the boot to the bench. Well, not exactly, but the point is made. We saw it with Raf Simons at Dior, Hedi Slimane at Saint Laurent, and more recently with Alexander Wang at Balenciaga. And while these may be the bulk of it all, it was a shock to many when Marc Jacobs announced his departure from Louis Vuitton.
After sixteen years at the French fashion house, Jacobs resolved to commit his attention to his eponymous label in preparation for an expected initial public offering. The much-loved designer, unquestionably responsible for the regeneration of this historic French label, reportedly made his closing decision on the very morning of his Spring 2014 show. And it was not long following Jacob’s parting did the brand announce his successor—that is, Nicolas Ghesquière.
Having left Balenciaga nearly a year before on November 5, 2012, much speculation revolved around Ghesquière replacing the longtime Vuitton designer. Though, for one who established the defined look of simplicity and avant-garde at Balenciaga, it is rather difficult fathoming Nicolas’ place at Louis Vuitton—the label whose ideal personality is easily characterized as the sensuous tease.
However, after Ghesquière’s Fall 2014 and Resort 2015 shows—also the label’s first resort collection—all doubts are put to rest as it seems simplicity and avant-garde mesh quite well with sensuality and feminine appeal. With threads of strength sewn through minimalism, Ghesquière enhanced the Vuitton coquette into an edgy girl of just enough. Like he did with Balenciaga, the designer’s eyes seem to be fixed on a minimalistic future with a taste for invention and modernism—quite a contrast to his predecessor’s vision.
Both a success, his two latest shows offered a great deal of modesty with hints of rebellion. The signature, geometric silhouettes found in most of Ghesquière’s previous collections were seen throughout, and with heavy use of leather varieties, the designer is certainly treating his new subject with a particular toughness.
In recent months, the French house helmsman unveiled the three photographers to shoot his Fall 2014 campaign— Annie Leibovitz, Juergen Teller and Bruce Weber. Unlike anything the brand has seen, the three photographers individually shot their respective interpretations of the reborn Vuitton girl, which based on the images is a rather dignified jetsetter who finds value in modesty as well as her femininity.
And though it may be too soon to predict the aesthetical direction Ghesquière seeks to take the French label, we should expect nothing short of a contemporaneous Louis Vuitton heroine.