Louis Vuitton appoints former Balenciaga designer as their new creative director by the name of Nicholas Ghesquiere
Almost a year to the day after he left Balenciaga, French fashion wunderkind Nicholas Ghesquiere has taken up the post of creative director at Louis Vuitton, replacing Marc Jacobs, who has left to concentrate his efforts on his own, very successful, fashion lines.
Fortunately, Ghesquiere, who is still only 42, is highly experienced in bringing elderly labels back into the artistic limelight. Appointed creative director at Balenciaga while still in his twenties, he is widely credited with having brought that initially groundbreaking house (which was founded in 1914) out of mothballs and back to the forefront of fashion, gathering a multitude of celebrity clients along the way. At Balenciaga, Ghesquiere managed to precisely negotiate the line between cutting-edge design and traditional couture values, and he is widely expected to take a similar stance at Louis Vuitton.
Speaking of his future at Louis Vuitton, Ghesquiere has said that he wants to update the long-established brand, bringing a new creative vision without compromising Vuitton’s key attributes of refinement and high quality. So it looks as though his experience at Balenciaga will stand him in good stead.
Of course, it could be argued that Louis Vuitton has a very different brand profile to that of Balenciaga before Ghesquiere arrived. Vuitton has been plagued by imitators and bootleg copies, and may have more of a problem with ‘the wrong profile’ rather than ‘no profile’. Indeed, Marc Jacobs led the label through some highly successful and profitable times, including the ‘logo mania’ phase that presumably led to a multitude of fake monogrammed Vuitton handbags hitting street markets. Recently, however, there has been some financial slippage and clearly Vuitton’s leadership and Ghesquiere have discussed the need for a little market repositioning. And if anybody can transform the image of a brand, that person is Ghesquiere, as we have seen.
What will Ghesquiere bring to Vuitton?
Ghesquiere is known to be a fan of couture’s core values, including originality, innovation, quality and luxury. He may well bring a heightened element of exclusivity back to Vuitton in time for the label’s 160th anniversary in 2014. A return to elitism and its highly refined roots is widely seen as a likely route for Vuitton to take to increase profitability.
Exactly what effect Ghesquiere will have on Louis Vuitton’s profit margin remains to be seen. His first collection is due in March 2014, and we can be sure that all eyes will be on the man that American Vogue described as “fashion’s most sought-after and influential figure”. Will that collection meet with the approval of the current Vuitton fan base? Will the fashionistas and the journalists love his work as much as the stock market? We will all just have to hold on and wait to see.