Fashion Group International will honor Balenciaga's creative director Nicolas Ghesquière with the Superstar Award at its Night of Stars Ball on October 28. With the prestigious distinction, Ghesquière joins the ranks of past winners including Oscar de la Renta, Donatella Versace and Jean Paul Gaultier.
Ghesquière took the helm at Balenciaga as a relatively unknown designer in 1997, subsequently reviving the label that had more or less died along with its eponymous founder in 1972. To say Ghesquière brought Balenciaga back to the forefront of fashion could be considered either an understatement or a misnomer: the legendary, industry-pioneering house had essentially invented the modern silhouette and established one of the most coveted brands in history. Under its new designer, Balenciaga experienced a renaissance based as much on Ghesquière's impeccable reference to the the label's archives as his supremely innovative and forward-thinking vision. Ghesquière helped create the modern "It" bag phenomenon, along with his own repertoire of new silhouettes.
Before Ghesquière, one might have said that to restore Balenciaga to its once-legendary status would be nearly impossible. And while it's true that nobody could ever replicate exactly what Cristóbal Balenciaga created, that's not what Ghesquière ever set out to do. Instead, his own genius revealed itself in its uncanny ability to balance a respectful honoring of the past with a healthy anticipation of the future. The other, perhaps most crucial, element to Ghesquière's success may lie in his humility. Despite the feverish admiration of his work, it was never about personal stardom over the designs themselves. While other designers might have veered off to establish their own namesake lines, after 15 years at Balenciaga, Ghesquière seems content to stay put.
Indeed, to call him a "Superstar" then, is putting it rather mildly.