Nicolas Ghesquière’s is of course, the new creative director at Louis Vuitton but spent the fifteen years prior at the helm of Balenciaga up until his departure in 2012. After seeing his recent work for LV, I was curious to revisit some of his earlier collections on which he built his career. While Nicholas has always produced amazing clothes, his later collections at Balenciaga seemed to taper off in quality and my interest in his work waned. His inaugural collection at Louis Vuitton, however, was my favorite of the A/W 2014 season and my interest was renewed––it epitomized the quality of design with which he made a n!ame for himself as Balenciaga’s young and innovative designer in the late 90s/early 2000s.
Nicolas’ style is simplistic without deferring too heavily to minimalism. His use of prints and embellishments meets at a perfect balance between restraint and gratuitousness––never prudish, but also never excessive, his collections embody a youthful coolness that is hyper- modern. Ghesquière’s work is very much of the moment, which is the genius––he is not so ahead of his time that his work is not well received. Rather, he is like a weather vane for the modern woman’s taste, creating the clothes she wants and needs at the moment when she wants and needs them. Over the course of his earliest years at Balenciaga, he transitioned from a more stark 90s simplicity into a an embellished and relaxed look then back again to sharp silhouettes with graphic patterns. Ghesquière adapts with time while retaining a singular and cohesive style throughout the progression of his career. From his first five years at Balenciaga, I have selected some of the highlights of Nicolas Ghesquière’s earliest collections just as he was beginning his ascent to becoming fashion’s darling of the new millennium.