The announcement of Nicolas Ghesquière’s unexpected departure from Balenciaga sent shockwaves through the fashion industry on Monday morning. Since then, there has been widespread speculation as to where he’ll go next and who will succeed him. After speaking to several industry veterans, a trend of opinion has emerged: people suggest that Ghesquière should start his own label – and think that Balenciaga should hire a relatively unknown designer to be named as his replacement.
Ghesquière arrived at Balenciaga in 1997. Then 23-years-old, he reinvigorated the staid label into a luxury tour de force—creating both seasonably avant-garde fashion shows and relative commercial success. “I thought the clothes he designs are amazing and inspiring and really pushing the boundaries,” Cecilia Dean, cofounder of Visionaire magazine, told The Daily Beast of Ghesquière’s air for the imaginary. (On the more saleable end, his range of “city” handbags have been racked-up by the armful on the main floor of Barneys New York’s flagship.)
On-the-cusp designers like Christopher Kane, Thomas Tait, and Joseph Altuzarra have reportedly been short-listed for the job. And larger talents, like Olivier Theyskens and Alexander Wang, have also been whispered. When The Daily Beast asked Wang to comment on the matter in the stands at Victoria’s Secret, he politely declined. However, blogger Bryanboy asserted: “I think Alexander Wang has made such a big impact in New York, he is on his way to building his own mega brand. [For those reasons] I don’t know if Wang is perfect for Balenciaga.”
Read what many of the editors, bloggers, photographers and models we spoke to had to say:
Carine Roitfeld, Editor, CR Fashion Book
I’m not totally surprised—I think he wanted a break, he wanted a change. I’m very sad for the house, he is a genius designer. We love scoop in fashion, no? So I think it’s an amazing scoop I will say.
Giovanna Battaglia, Editor, L’Uomo Vogue; Contributing Fashion Editor, W
I think he should open his own line—it’s time to do it, he is young enough to do it and we need a new label. I have a few ideas [for his replacement] but they are very remote, so it depends how intensely they are scouting. I think it should be someone almost unknown.
Bryan Yambao, Blogger, Bryanboy
I think its really sad, I mean it was a shocker of course more than anything, I’m such a big fan of Nicolas. Over the past few years we’ve seen fashion go through a whole round of musical chairs where everyone is disposable everyone is replaceable. I think it’s time for the big fashion conglomerates to focus on nurturing talent and building their own names.
Tommy Ton, Street Style Photographer
He had quite a radical view on fashion so it’s hit me quite hard that he has left, and I think he is quite crucial to what modern fashion has become. You can see how he has influenced other designers in a lot of collections, so for a lot of the names that have been mentioned they’ve already referenced him, so for them to replace him doesn’t make sense. I think what the industry needs is someone new that no one has heard of because I think its really time for someone to really shake things…now is the time for change with all of these French houses letting their designers loose.
Stephen Gan, Creative Director, Harper’s Bazaar
It’s always unsettling in our business when fear sets in that someone really talented won’t be performing on the same stage. No one knows what the future will hold but I wish the best for him. For me, like for most people it was a real shock.
Cecilia Dean, Editor, Visionaire
I thought his ad campaigns were really original and unique and different. I’m sure he is on to great projects, and I’m sure it won’t be the last we heard from him. Everyone will miss his Balenciaga, but other things will happen and there will be other designers, and he’ll do more things. It’s all part of the evolution of fashion.
Derek Blasberg, Editor at Large, Harper’s Bazaar; Senior Editor, V magazine
You could say he went out with a bang with his spring summer collection. It was it think everyone’s top favorite, and certainly was one of my top Balenciaga collections.
Miranda Kerr, Model
To be honest I just really love him—he is such a creative and wonderful man, I just wish that he follows his dreams and does what he wants to do. I love his work.
Lily Aldridge, Model
I think the whole world is so sad, he’s a genius and he’s amazing, I never walked in his show I wish I had, but I cant wait to see what he does next. No one can replace him, he’s irreplaceable.