FAULT Focus: Creative director Nicolas Ghesquière heralds new era for Louis Vuitton

Esteemed designer Nicolas Ghesquière recently showcased his first collection (AW ’14) as the new creative director of fashion house, Louis Vuitton. Set under the roof of the scenic Cour Carrée of the Louvre, Ghesquière exhibited his work on the last day of Paris Fashion Week to a room packed full of fashion enthusiasts who all came together to witness the turning of a new leaf for Louis Vuitton. Ghesquière has long been championed by industry professionals as a designer with a keen eye for conceptual design so, as expected, his debut show for Louis Vuitton was highly anticipated in the weeks leading up to its showing.


What impact will this change of direction have for Louis Vuitton? During his tenure as creative director of Balenciaga, Ghesquière was credited as the guiding force in turning Balenciaga into the niche and timeless fashion house it is today. Taking notice of his previous design work, head officials at LVMH ultimately decided on Ghesquière as the new creative director of Louis Vuitton, primarily (one feels) for his proven ability to successfully run a major fashion house. While Ghesquière is still often associated with his work at Balenciaga, his new post at Louis Vuitton will be distinctly different, in that the latter is marketed to and consumed by a significantly larger and more diverse demographic.

Freja Beha Erichsen (above) opened the show for Louis Vuitton's AW 14 show at PFW
Freja Beha Erichsen opened the show for Louis Vuitton’s AW 14 show at PFW

There were some key pointers at Ghesquière’s first show for LVMH to denote the subtle change in direction for both parties. Upon arrival to the Cour Carrée, guests were greeted by long beige benches with moleskin pillows on top. The minimalist set design was the first indication of a new style aesthetic for Louis Vuitton. As the lights dimmed and the models began treading down the runway, model Freja Beha Erichsen opened the show wearing a turtleneck white dress paired with a black leather jacket, knee high leather boots and a miniature Louis Vuitton trunk. Various reference to the ‘60s and ‘70s were seen with the use of the A-line silhouettes. The use of hyper-luxury materials such as fur, leather, printed moleskin, and crocodile – which are all prevalent throughout the brand’s Autumn/Winter ‘14 collection – was a continuance of the brand’s traditional values, presenting  the Louis Vuitton woman being one of opulence. Whether that aesthetic will continue to sit comfortably with Ghesquière as he looks to take the brand forward is a question that cannot be answered just yet.

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Louis Vuitton A/w 14 collection (snapshot)

Specifically, moving on from his introduction, only time will tell just how Ghesquière will put his twist on the LV monogram; the ultimate emblem of the Louis Vuitton brand and company. If any of his previous work serves as an indicator of the direction he will be taking, we can expect Ghesquière to create a more cohesive – possibly minimal – brand image for Louis Vuitton, which LVMH must fervently hope will translate into increased and sustainable sales. As for any luxury brand in the present market, the key will be how Ghesquière’s new direction is received in Asia. The luxury market in China alone was recently estimated to be worth $19 billion by US private equity firm Bain Capital.

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A glimpse of the new era for Louis Vuitton under Nicholas Ghesquière ?


Words by Shammara Lawrence; images courtesy of Louis Vuitton