How to you take a fashion house from the absolute pits to being one of the premiere collections in the world? Ask Balenciaga’s Nicolas Ghesquiere. He may not want to give you the complete recipe as he’s perfected it, and has kept it as much a secret as Coca Cola has kept their formula hidden deep in caverns on Mars.
Ghesuiere was given two unenviable tasks early in his career at Balenciaga. The first task was given to someone who was very low in the pecking order. His job was simple, work in licensing for Asia creating uniforms and funeral clothes. With acknowledgments to an overt pun, the job bored him to death. There were also rumblings that the fashion house might not be around much longer thanks to the handiwork of Josephus Thimister. The last straw for the heads of Balenciaga was when Thimister held a show where he paraded models down the runway with a live band playing what revelers called “god-awful noise.”
Thimister’s role was cut short after that stunt, Ghesquiere was picked up after languishing in the funeral/Japanese licenses department and the rest can be written for an encylcopedia.
Fast Forward two seasons later and Ghesquiere is in the midst of re-creating the Balenciaga silhouette. The voluminous blouson became his calling card as well as his knack for creating collections that dramatically evolved year after year. Over the course of several seasons, Ghesquiere’s creations hit critical mass. The Spring 2000 collection was the clarion call that said Ghesquiere could work on the same schedule as Marc Jacobs, Galliano and Stella McCartney.
Ghesquiere was praised for his loose sack dresses, his coats with dolman sleeves as well as the pleated pants tapered at the bottom. He was moving Balenciaga forward while paying homage to its history. Ghesquiere is now a part of Balenciaga’s fabric. His name is inseparable from the term second renaissance at Balenciaga, and with good reason his evolution early on has made him one of the top designers in the world.