Nicolas Ghesquière Remembers his First Kiss and the Time he Sewed His Mother’s Ski Overalls Into a Dress

The Louis Vuitton creative director sits down with Lynn Hirschberg to talk about his “family fashion spirit,” his mentor Jean Paul Gaultier, and being terrified when he got his big break at age 25. He wants to change the misconception about designers working in an ivory tower. “When I start a collection, I try to be very agile about the creative process,” he says.

Released on 11/21/2019

Credits

Starring: Nicolas Ghesquière

Transcript

00:00
Of course, I did dress many members of my family.
00:04
I remember my mother when we were going to ski,
00:08
and instead of a ski over hold, she found a ski long dress
00:14
because I had decided to sew the two legs together
00:18
to make the other hole look better.
00:20
Kind of my contribution
00:22
to my family fashion spirit, let's say.
00:32
The first time I took conscious of fashion
00:35
I believe was during a very boring holidays.
00:39
I was drawing all the time,
00:41
and I was drawing fashion, woman, dresses,
00:44
and sometimes cars.
00:45
I don't know why.
00:47
My lovely aunt came and saw how much I was bored,
00:51
and she came to me and she said,
00:53
Show me what you're doing.
00:54
And she said,
00:55
Oh, this looks like a fashion drawing, Nicholas.
00:59
And I was probably nine or ten,
01:01
and then I never let go after that, yes.
01:04
The discovering of the family sewing machine
01:07
was something very interesting
01:10
and sometimes very dangerous.
01:12
I cut my grandfather trench coat into a crop jacket
01:16
that I was very proud to wear in college, yes, yes.
01:20
Oh, my first kiss was during an awful running internship
01:26
that my parents forced me to do when I was 13.
01:30
This girl came and kissed me.
01:33
And I was very happy.
01:34
She was very cute, yes.
01:36
That's where me also realize
01:37
that maybe I was going to be gay.
01:39
She was very sweet actually, and she didn't insist,
01:42
which it made it much more easy for me later.
01:45
You know what, I was very low key.
01:46
I met few people that I can consider has Pygmalion,
01:50
that really changed the way my life was going.
01:53
But Jean Paul Gaultier probably, yes,
01:55
John Paul was the one after all this internship
01:58
that really gave me my first job.
02:00
It's really when I started with John Paul
02:03
that I get to be taken as a serious designer.
02:09
Yeah, I really appreciate what he did for me.
02:11
When Balenciaga happened, I was 25, 23 when I first started
02:17
to design there.
02:18
Two years after that I get big job.
02:20
That was the big break for me, yes.
02:23
At the beginning at Balenciaga I was terrified.
02:26
I was like, what am I going to do?
02:28
Now I get the job, so it's time to go for it.
02:32
At 25, you just fearless.
02:37
You can enjoy for a very short time what you just did.
02:41
You have to move on to the next season.
02:42
The first season at Balenciaga,
02:44
it was an in-between situation.
02:46
They ask me to do a collection because they were looking
02:49
for a fashion big star.
02:51
Like a very famous name or something.
02:53
I was just there.
02:54
I was supposed to stay for six months or maybe a year,
02:57
and then I did 16 years, yeah.
02:59
We can say it was a very long in-between situation, yeah.
03:02
When I start a collection, I try to be very agile
03:08
with the creative process.
03:11
I don't really have any habits about starting.
03:15
It can be on a trip, could be a great architecture,
03:18
and I will start to dream or imagine clothes
03:22
people can wear in that environment.
03:25
There is different way to approach a season every time,
03:28
and I'm trying really to be very free
03:30
with the first start on every collection,
03:33
to try to not repeat myself.
03:36
Oh, no, I don't hate any colors.
03:39
I can't, I can't.
03:40
Imagine.
03:41
I'm gonna tell you that today,
03:42
and tomorrow I will start a collection
03:44
when I will do everything in, let's say, apricot.
03:48
So no, I really do like every color.
03:51
I have preferences, for sure.
03:54
It's blue.
03:55
That's my favorite color.
03:56
I don't know, it's unconditional.
03:57
Anything blue, any palettes of blue,
03:59
is charming me.
04:01
I love blue, yeah.
04:02
I did try few things on, yeah.
04:07
Sometimes I do.
04:08
I especially like leather jacket, biker, stuff like that,
04:12
when they are my size, I try them.
04:14
It's funny, sometimes people think the designers
04:17
are in high inventory when they just create and create,
04:21
but it's wrong.
04:21
I have to fix that situation.
04:23
This is not true.
04:24
We do have a feeling, we do have an intuition
04:27
for what people will buy.
04:29
When I see someone wearing what I design,
04:32
I'm always amazed by always the personal styling.
04:36
It's like, could be a great surprise,
04:39
it could be sometimes disappointing,
04:42
but I'm trying always to observe
04:43
the way they interpret things.
04:45
They're playing with what I design and make it personal.
04:49
And at the end of the day, what you do,
04:52
it's going to belong to people.
04:53
It's always so interesting to see what people make with it.
04:57
How they wear it, how they transform it,
04:59
how they make it something
05:01
that doesn't look like what you really did,
05:04
but it's still a part of them and a little part of you.
05:08
[laughter]