Nicolas Ghesquière, creative director at Balenciaga‘s 15-year relationship with the Paris fashion house, has ended.
The decision is said to be a “joint” one, and the designer will leave Balenciaga at the end of this month.
The news has stunned the fashion world, coming only one month after Ghesquière presented what many considered was “one of the most acclaimed shows of the spring 2013 fashion season.”
A press release this morning from Balenciaga parent PPR (formerly Pinault-Printemps-Redoute) said:
“The Balenciaga fashion house and Nicolas Ghesquiere have announced their joint decision to end their working relationship as of 30 November 2012.”
François-Henri Pinault, Chairman and CEO of PPR,added:
“Cristobal Balenciaga was a master, a genius whose avant-garde vision dictated fashion’s greatest trends and inspired generations of designers. With an incomparable creative talent, Nicolas has brought to Balenciaga an artistic contribution essential to the unique influence of the house.”
In January, Kristen Stewart became the latest face of Balenciaga’s fragrance line for women.
As well as representing new scent Florabotanica, Stewart has also worn Ghesquiere’s designs to numerous high profile events — notably, the Met Ball and Cannes Film Festival in May and front row appearances at Balenciaga’sParis fashion shows.
Ghesquière recently described Stewart as an “inspiration” in Italian Vanity Fair. Similarly, Stewart called meeting the designer “kismet.”
The actress even credited Ghesquière with changing her views on fashion. In a recent live chat to promote Florabotanica, Stewart revealed her previous trepidation about walking the red carpet.
“At first I just wanted to get it right. I wanted it to be smooth sailing and just to be able to do my job.
“Then I did a photo shoot with Nicolas and it was the first time that taking photos in high fashion felt like telling a story … He’s really one of the only guys I’ve ever met in [fashion] that makes me feel like I’m working for a director.”
On social media site Twitter, there has been praise for Ghesquière in the wake of today’s news.
Dazed Fashion tweeted: “Nicolas Ghesquière @BALENCIAGA are to part ways at the end of this month after a spectacular 15 year collaboration that shaped ’00s fashion.”
Derek Blasberg said: “Very depressing news for my well-off, fashionable fans of avant garde, conceptual French fashion, Nicolas Ghesquière to leave Balenciaga.”
Alexandra Shulman, editor in chief of Vogue magazine UK, said: “Nicolas Ghesquiere unarguably one of the biggest talents in fashion leaving Balenciaga where he has been incredible.”
It remains to be seen who will fill the vacuum at Balenciaga. Speculation that Stefano Pilati — who recently exited Yves Saint Laurent before taking up a position at Ermenegildo Zegna — might be in the frame to step into Ghesquiere’s shoes has already begun.