Louis Vuitton's artistic director of women’s collections, Nicolas Ghesquiére, has never shied away from championing inclusivity on and off the runway. For that reason, he has been included in Out Magazine’s Out 100, a prestigious compilation of the year’s most impactful and influential LGBTQ+ people. He is on one of five special magazine covers for the list. “Nicolas Ghesquière is the women's artistic director of Louis Vuitton,” Out’s Editor-In-Chief Philip Picardi writes. “‘Activist’ wasn't supposed to be part of his job description.”
Last month, Ghesquiére openly denounced Donald Trump, after Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy chairman and chief executive officer Bernard Arnault welcomed the president in rural Alvarado, Texas for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Louis Vuitton's new leather goods workshop. Arnault praised Trump to WWD, saying, “We are very honoured to have the president of the United States. I’m not here to judge any types of policies. I’m here to work with my brand and we are going to, over five years, have 1,000 people working here and that’s what matters.” Ghesquiére, on the other hand, commented on the matter publicly via Instagram, writing, “Standing against any political action. I am a fashion designer refusing this association.” Under a photo of the cover of the 1984 Evelyn Thomas club hit “High Energy,” the designer added the hashtags #TrumpIsAJoke and #Homophobia.
The designer also makes a point to support the LGBTQ+ community, consistently casting transgender models in his runway show. He cast Pose star Indya Moore as the face for Louis Vuitton's jewellery campaign. Fellow Out 100 honouree, model Teddy Quinlivan, who has worked with Ghesquière repeatedly at LV, shared her support Ghesquière Instagram post in October, writing: “Thank you for standing on the right side of history.”
The Out 100 cover star isn’t the only designer on the list who has spoken out against Trump. In August, when Picardi tweeted the connection between Trump and the Hudson Yards, Prabal Gurung responded: “I am in complete shock. I had no idea they owned @Equinox @soulcycle. In these turbulent times when we know that white supremacy & domestic terrorism are inspired by Trump’s ugly rhetoric & racism, to openly support & fundraise is an indication of one’s integrity. Appalled.” Gurung has consistently proven himself to be a socially-minded designer who makes beautiful clothes.
The list also names 2019 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund winner Christopher John Rogers, a designer, who aims to champion the self and encourage new opportunities for occasion and celebratory dressing. When asked how identity or expression played into the development of the label, Rogers told Refinery29: “Some days I might feel more ostentatious and some days I might feel a bit more reserved in my dress, so I’m interested in how clothes can serve that duality. Think: pragmatic extravagance.”
Model Aaron Philip also makes the list. She’s a gender-nonconforming trans woman with cerebral palsy who uses a motorised wheelchair and was signed to Elite Models last year. “I just don’t want this to end with me,” she told the New York Times. “I want to have an impact where other people like me are just going to be the industry, and like it’s nothing.”
The remainder of the fashion and beauty honourees on Out’s 100 list are Stefano Pilati, designer and founder of Random Identities; the CEO of Beautycon Moj Mahdara; Miss Fame of Miss Fame Beauty; Beyoncé’s makeup artist Sir John; MAC’s global creative director Drew Elliot; and Kylie Jenner's hairstylist Tokyo Stylez.
Ghesquiére tells Out: “The sense that being gay gives me, it’s an asset for being inspired. Maybe it’s sometimes pushing my own limits — the limits I could have just for being gay — or maybe it’s making my imagination go forward, to another territory that belongs to fantasy, to freedom. I think it has an influence in the way I design where, sometimes, pragmatism and function can have a limit.”