For most of his career, Nicolas Ghesquière has been thinking and fantasising about the future. In the first months of 2020, it arrived, in the form of an almost apocalyptic pandemic. Under these unprecedented circumstances, the French designer showcased the spring/summer 2021 collection, last October, in the department store of La Samaritaine in Paris. At the 1869 building owned by the LVMH group, there were 200 in-person guests and 360 cameras, which beamed the show globally.
Ghesquière’s approach to design analyses the space between femininity and masculinity, and responds to the needs of a current society that demands more social and ethical involvement from the industry. “Those who think they will be able to go back to work as they did before will not last long in this industry. The public’s expectations are very high,” he notes.
After 15 years as creative director at Balenciaga, a label that he brought back to the collective imagination, he succeeded Marc Jacobs at Louis Vuitton in 2013, bringing with him a razor-sharp aesthetic and an extraordinary sensitivity to predict the present and future needs of the women he dresses.
Sara Hernando: The spring/summer 2021 collection was presented last October at the La Samaritaine fashion department store in Paris. Why did you decide to move the show from the Louvre, where it’s always held?
Nicolas Ghesquière: You can always take something positive out of even the most negative situations, even in this pandemic. La Samaritaine is an art nouveau department store in Paris that the LVMH group bought 20 years ago. After an intensive restoration, it planned to open in 2020, but due to the pandemic, LVMH had no choice but to postpone. When this presented itself as an option, I went to see the space and was fascinated by its fabulous glass ceiling and the beautiful artwork. It seemed perfect for the show. There is also a personal story. When I was an 18-year-old intern at Jean Paul Gaultier, I would visit the store to buy things for the atelier. Who would have thought that I would show at a place where I made purchases as a young intern? Of course, I said yes, it was incredibly exciting. On a logistical level, it’s also very close to the offices, and bearing in mind the current situation, it was ideal for the safety and security of the team and the guests. That’s why we were able to invite about 200 guests. We were very lucky to be able to present the collection as we did.
SH: Many brands decided to present their spring/summer 2021 collections completely online. What prompted you to showcase in this format?
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