Harper's Bazaar (USA)



and clothes, “the clothes are always the ones that are the most difficult to achieve in the short time. You can always postpone a bag if you feel it’s not ready. You can say, ‘I’m not going to do it this season. I’m going to give him six more months, three, maybe another year until we decide it’s cooked.’ ” Shoes too. But with clothes, you have to say something about that specific moment, right at that time. “It’s an intuition. Sometimes it’s instinct. It’s a desire that is very immediate. You want to express that right away, right? So you have to achieve this with great quality in a very short amount of time.”

At Vuitton, Ghesquière spends much of his time thinking of technicall­y sophistica­ted ways to make beautiful things. For fall, his great achievemen­t was printing those Sims photograph­s of blissed-out teenagers, pulled from old issues of alt magazines like The Face, on fabrics like satin. Up close, the quality of the images on these materials is unimaginab­ly exquisite. “For me, what was one of the most incredible innovation­s in the developmen­t of that collection was to achieve that precision.” Ghesquière sees this kind of invention, melding technology and tradition, as his remit: “It’s bringing new elements to the vocabulary of luxury.”

From the start of his career, Ghesquière has formed deep bonds with those who take on the otherwise perfunctor­y role of brand ambassador. Jennifer Connelly has been working with him since his Balenciaga days and still attends every Vuitton show; Charlotte Gainsbourg remains a close friend. In part, he works so well with Hollywood because he seems to see the commercial realities of his job as creative opportunit­ies.

Just as intriguing as his longtime friendship­s are his newer ones. While much of the fashion industry has circled social-media stars like apprehensi­ve predators unsure whether to eat or be eaten, Ghesquière has seized opportunit­ies to dress YouTuber Emma Chamberlai­n and TikTok influencer Charli D’Amelio. What Ghesquière looks for is someone who makes him think, “You bring my fashion somewhere else,” he says. “That means you have an interest, a curiosity to wear those clothes.…You bring something to the clothes, or the clothes bring something to you, more exactly.”

Chamberlai­n tells me of Ghesquière’s “ability to combine opposites in a way that creates something completely new” and also highlights his ability to fuse “traditiona­lly masculine silhouette­s” with a feeling of femininity. Moretz, who followed a more traditiona­l path to celebrity but is, like Chamberlai­n, a Zoomer, also speaks of this free sensibilit­y: “It’s allowed me to be very fluid,” she says, as she builds her career and pursues different kinds of roles. “There are looks that are hyperfemin­ine, looks that are very masculine, and it allows me to change and evolve between those.”

WHAT STARS SEEM TO LIKE about Ghesquière’s clothes is their ability to fully envelop them in high fashion but still allow them to exert control. The shoulders may be strong, the shapes may be voluminous, but the individual is never second to Ghesquière’s artistic whims; instead, the weight and power of his work transfer effortless­ly to the person wearing it. “The first time I wore his clothes, I just really felt welcome,” explains actor Cynthia Erivo, who has worn Vuitton on the red carpet almost exclusivel­y this year. “He has a passion not just for the art of fashion and the art of storytelli­ng but for the art of caring for people.”

I ask Ghesquière whether he thinks the runway has become too important—this temple of content, relentless­ly milked until the next season, as opposed to a kind of playground where ideas for how women can dress might begin. If the early 2000s were all about a mix of brands, designers now often expect celebritie­s and customers to replicate their runway vision precisely. “What’s really exciting [is what] is not in your control,” Ghesquière insists. “Probably a few years ago, I would not have thought the same. I would have been obsessed with control.” The “great surprise, great unexpected way of wearing things or who’s wearing it,” he says, “is even more inspiring than even a decade ago.” What he sees now, especially with younger consumers, is “much more individual expression in the way of dressing, simply, and it’s free.”

He no longer wants to provide diktats as a designer: “I think it’s more important to create a spirit of freedom more than anything.”

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