Talks Are ‘Well Under Way’ With Ghesquière’s Replacement

Despite the abrupt departure of head designer Nicolas Ghesquière, Balenciaga will not be without a leader for long, according to report yesterday from the AFP.

“We have a shortlist, and negotiations are well under way,” Balenciaga CEO Isabelle Guichot told the news organization, adding that “it won’t be a drawn-out transition.” That’s a relief, not least because the nonstop rumors swirling around the Christian Dior post last year started to give us a headache after the first month or two.

As for why the designer chose to leave in the first place after 15 years at the helm, Cathy Horyn posited in a blog post Monday that Ghesquière may have wanted greater funding and creative freedom from parent company PPR, citing sources close to the house. PPR also owns Yves Saint Laurent, and there was talk that Nicolas may have begrudged the number of liberties newly-appointed designer Hedi Slimane was allowed to take with the image, branding, and management of the label.

Guichot denies these allegations, speculating instead that Ghesquière may just have been ready for a new challenge. “Perhaps Nicolas wanted to express a different creativity, in a different environment,” she told the AFP. “For a person as creative and talented as Nicolas, it drives his inspiration to be stimulated in new ways.” This new environment could very well be LVMH, PPR’s biggest competitor and owner of brands like Louis Vuitton, Céline, and, yes, Dior. Horyn says there is “already talk” of this move and the International Herald Tribune cites a source who says head honcho Bernard Arnault has approached the designer with promises of a brand of his own managed by either his daughter Delphine, who is currently at Dior, or son Antoine, CEO of Berluti.

We’ll just have to wait and see where everyone will end up, but at least it’s starting to look like the big news will be breaking sooner rather than later. Stay tuned!

[AFP, NYT, and IHT]

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