Why did Nicolas Ghesquiere leave Balenciaga?

In an exclusive interview excerpt obtained by the Business of Fashion from System Magazine, designer Nicolas Ghesquiere has a few scathing remarks regarding his former employer, Balenciaga, and the fashion house's business model.

"I started to become unhappy when I realised that there was no esteem, interest, or recognition for the research that I’d done," says Ghesquiere in the interview. "They only cared about what the merchandisable result would look like." The former creative director of the storied fashion house unloaded his frustrations in an interview with System, sharing that he felt incompatible with Balenciaga's management "all the time." 

"There wasn’t really any direction," he adds. "I think with Karl and Miuccia, you can feel that it’s the creative people who have the power. It was around that time that 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. Everything became an asset for the brand, trying to make it ever more corporate – it was all about branding. I don’t have anything against that; actually, the thing that I’m most proud of is that Balenciaga has become a big financial entity and will continue to exist. But I began to feel as though I was being sucked dry, like they wanted to steal my identity while trying to homogenise things. It just wasn’t fulfilling anymore."

And he left.

Shortly after Ghesquiere's departure, Alexander Wang filled the post as creative director of Balenciaga.

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