On the eve of Alexander Wang‘s first show as creative director of Balenciaga (eeeek!), we want to take you back to October 1997, when a sprightly young up-and-comer named Nicolas Ghesquière showed his first-ever collection for that very same house.
According to fashion industry lore, the previous head designer, Josephus Thimister, was fired after the audience walked out on his last runway show because of an abrasive, deafening live set by electronic band Add N to (X). Ghesquière, by his own confession, was intended as a “stopgap creative director”, pulled from the Asian licenses branch of the business where he designed funeral clothes, golfing attire, and wedding dresses.
As we now know, Ghesquière lasted for 15 years at the helm, turning the house into a force to be reckoned with in Paris (and a profitable one at that!), but before all of the critical accolades and It-bags, he, like Wang, had the nerve-wracking task of putting forth a debut collection. So while we wait with bated breath to see what’s in store for us tomorrow, why not take a look at what piqued editors’ interests all those years ago?
Watch the full show in the four-part video playlist below: