“I Was Being Sucked Dry,” Says Nicolas Ghesquière Of Balenciaga

If you weren't up late last night reading fashion websites like we were (what — you think we take the weekend off?), you may have missed this exclusive interview preview Business of Fashion ran with Nicolas Ghesquière. The ex-Balenciaga designer and creative director spoke with System magazine's Jonathan Wingfield after he left the company in November 2012 in a series of thoughtful, candid interviews that really exposed the struggle Ghesquière experienced due to a lack of in-house support from production, business, and merchandising, despite industry acclaim for his design prowess.
Says Ghesquière, "I never had a partner, and I ended up feeling too alone. I had a marvellous studio and design team who were close to me, but it started becoming a bureaucracy and gradually became more corporate, until it was no longer even linked to fashion." From losing his identity as a designer ("I heard people saying, ‘Your style is so Balenciaga now, it’s no longer Nicolas Ghesquière, it’s Balenciaga’s style.’ It all became so dehumanized.") to his constant fight to keep the design integrity alive through the production process ("[The people at the top kept] keep saying they love fashion, yet they’ve never actually grasped that [fashion] isn’t yoghurt or a piece of furniture — products in the purest sense of the term."), it's clear that Ghesquière's departure was a end product of over a decade of frustration.
Ghesquière never mentions newly appointed Balenciaga designer Alexander Wang in the preview interview, but does go on to express hope for the next chapter of his own career. "I’m regenerating again, and that’s very exciting because it’s a feeling I haven’t had since I was in my twenties." For our own selfish benefit, it's absolutely bonkers to think that the beautiful, iconoclastic work Ghesquière was doing at Balenciaga wasn't the top level of what he's capable. If this unshackling has made him even more creative, more provocative, and more revolutionary, we can hardly wait to see what he comes up with. Click through to read the whole interview. (BoF)

Photo: Courtesy of Juergen Teller/System

More from Designers

R29 Original Series