Nicolas Ghesquière On Classics and Complexities at Louis Vuitton

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In his position at the helm of Louis Vuitton, Nicolas Ghesquière has everyone’s attention. But at WWD’s Apparel and Retail CEO Summit dinner on Monday, the artistic director assured us that he’s not going to try too hard to entertain us with runway spectacles and statements. When it comes to design, Ghesquière takes a different approach: “You never do things thinking you will make a big statement,” he said. “It just happens sometimes and you are lucky. You don’t think you will do a revolution. At the beginning, you are very honest with your idea and you want to seduce. It’s more about building a vision with time, and to dig and go deep into a woman’s wardrobe.”

In his work at Louis Vuitton, Ghesquière pays more attention to the “many facets of women” than delivering a strong statement. It has become clear that Ghesquière is interested in the pragmatic side of fashion—the one that a woman can use to show off “her charisma, her personality, her intelligence, her personal style, her way of expressing herself.” Certainly, a long design process with a close-knit team and the idea of an overall vision for Louis Vuitton supports this approach to Ghesquière’s work.

This vision, it seems, is one that is simple enough to stand the test of time but complex enough to keep many generations of women engaged. Though it might be an overarching vision that Louis Vuitton has upheld since the very beginning, each creative director has done it in his own way. Ghesquière’s way involves not being afraid to reinvent the classic.

“My thought was that when we look at things that are considered ‘Grande Classiques,’ as we say in French—iconic classics that almost everyone wants—we sometimes forget that they were new one day,” he said. “They were totally innovative and might sometimes be shocking to some people, but with time, they become classics. Every item doesn’t become that but the challenge for the designer is to look for those things that are so consistent that they can stand [the test of] time even if they are surprising and new at the beginning.” Stay tuned to Ghesquière’s LV runways for next best thing in classics.