Louis Vuitton

The 10 Best Nicolas Ghesquière Moments at Louis Vuitton

Ten years, countless collections, one man to do it all.

“Y’all have been running your mouths so much about him leaving that they felt the need to announce contract renewal lmao.” 

Commented fashion-writer José Criales-Unzueta late last year on a joint Instagram post announcing an extension of contract between the storied Maison of Louis Vuitton and its present artistic director, Nicolas Ghesquière.

And indeed, on the surface, it didn’t seem like much to write home about. 

The design director had promising beginnings at Jean-Paul Gaultier, named thereafter the creative lead of Balenciaga at only 25, eventually becoming a celebrity of sorts himself as he sent his models strutting down the runway with the cultural sensation that was (and still is!) the Motorcycle bag. 

But following his (somewhat sudden) departure from the label in 2013, he’s been almost singlehandedly spearheading Louis Vuitton womenswear, now in his tenth year of servitude at the heritage house. 

LOUIS VUITTON Announces Extension of Ghesquieres Contract
The man himself, Nicolas Ghesquière

And in the revenue-driven conglomerate machination that is fashion, where only last week saw the equally expedited exits of two longtime stalwarts of style, Dries Van Noten and Pierpaolo Piccioli, perhaps Ghesquière’s success really does come off as a surprise (although less surprising is the fact that his efforts resulted in record-breaking annual revenue of €20 billion to the brand in 2022).

So, today, we look back at the design genius’s ten best fashion moments at Louis Vuitton, which have altered the course of handbag history, possibly forever!

Fresh Off the BBoat: A New Day

As Ghesquière’s departure from Balenciaga (of course, it didn’t quite help that Alexander Wang was the chosen successor) and Marc Jacobs’ departure from Louis Vuitton both sent fashionistas silently sobbing their tears of sorrow, it felt fit – almost instinctive – to bring the two together. 

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Ghesquière’s first ad campaign in Fall 2014.

And Ghesquière’s opening collection at Vuitton for Fall/Winter 2014, titled “A New Day,” was exactly that. Doubts were voiced, but the designer’s debut, putting forth an entirely new spin on the historic house’s DNA, silenced them all.

GO-14: A New Age of Accessories

But Ghesquière’s hard launch at the Cour Carrée of the Louvre had more than theatrics in store, specifically with us handbag-heads in mind. Sure, some cult-favorite styles of the previous decade, like the Tivoli, were almost immediately discontinued.

Instead, however, we were introduced to the GO-14 (aptly named after its year of inception, 2014), incorporating the padded lambskin malletage, formerly reserved for the inside of a trunk, as a design element on its own. 

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The re-released GO-14

And if you’d like to go harder on the trunk reference, there was also the Petite Malle, a literal mini-trunk, which, alongside the GO-14, has since resurfaced across the subsequent years in countless new covetable iterations suited to today’s it-crowd.

160th Anniversary: The Icon & the Iconoclasts

Despite the success of his inaugurating lineup, however, Ghesquière was faced with yet another daunting task in his first year on the job – to commemorate the Maison’s 160th founding anniversary – in style.

With a little help from executive vice president Delphine Arnault, therefore, he enlisted six iconoclasts of both fashion and beyond. Karl Lagerfeld of Chanel (whose creation was, fittingly enough, a monogrammed boxing set), Christian Louboutin (of Christian Louboutin), and Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons, alongside architect Franky Gehry, photographer Cindy Sherman, and industrial designer Mark Newson.

Louis Vuitton Celebrating Monogram
Rei Kawakubo’s Louis Vuitton Iconoclasts tote © Louis Vuitton – Rei Kawakubo

But this wasn’t the brand’s first brush with guest designers. 1996, a similarly staggering set comprising Azzedine Alaïa, Manolo Blahnik, Romeo Gigli, Helmut Lang, Isaac Mizrahi, Sybilla, and Vivienne Westwood had designed Vuitton’s centenarian collection. 

And it certainly wasn’t going to be its last either.

Spring/Summer 2016: To the Frontiers of the Digital Era

Ever the experimentalist for SS16, Ghesquière tapped into the world of anime, referencing the popular series Evangelion, as well as Wong Kar-wai’s cult-classic, 2046, with a lineup of models cosplaying as warrior princesses from the distant lands of RPG video games.

Louis Vuitton Spring 2016 Ad Campaign 1
The Digital GO-14 Bag.

Titled “A Journey to the Frontiers of the Digital Era,” the retro-futuristic collection further featured Lightning from the hit gaming series Final Fantasy, complete with her own digital rendering of a GO-14 bag, opening up a literal fashion frontier in the form of you guessed it, NFTs!

Cruise 2017: Rio de Janeiro

Clearly, no one commands a pop-culture moment like Ghesquière. And ahead of the 2016 Summer Olympics at Rio de Janeiro, he took his Cruise 2017 collection to Rio’s historic Neiterói Contemporary Art Museum. Replete with tropical party references, scuba-inspired dresses, and wearable summer pieces, if you weren’t at Rio for the Games, you were certainly there for the new Vuitton Boombox bag!

Louis Vuitton Cruise 2017 Boombox Bag
The Cruise 2017 boombox bag.

Spring/Summer 2018: Transcending Time

From back to the future and onto the past! For SS18, Ghesquière struck a striking balance between the sporty leggings, boxer shorts, and – for the first time in the brand’s history – chunky-soled sneakers of modern-day athleisure, with flowy chiffon and intricate brocade fit for Victorian aristocracy.

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Minimal and maximal bags were both present on the SS18 runway.
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But while the period-mixing treatment was extended to handbags – featuring minimal and baroque pieces – the standout was an 80s band-style Stranger Things t-shirt, clearly capitalizing on the internet’s darling new TV show at the time.

Fall/Winter 2020: About Time

2020 was the year Nicolas Ghesquière was roped in to co-host the Costume Institute exhibition, christened “About Time: Fashion and Duration.” 2020 was also the year we all went into isolation, changing our lives forever.

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A model walks the runway at the Fall 2020 show

The Fall runway for the year foreshadowed this essence of drama, with an almost operatic venue consisting of 200 chorus members outfitted in 400 years of history – from the 15th century to the 1950s. Did we forget that the monogram jacquard Since 1854 range also debuted in that show?

No, we didn’t.

Cruise 2021: Game On!

But after the positively harrowing year that 2020 proved to be, it seemed like Ghesquière had pressed a hard reset on his Louis Vuitton trajectory – heavier on the function, less so on the fashion (or at least, the histrionics of it all).

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Louis Vuitton Speedy Game On

For Cruise 2021, therefore, he unveiled the Game On! Collection: with hearts, clubs, and spades motifs juxtaposed onto the classic multicolor monogram in popular, wearable styles, like the Speedy, the Neverfull, the Dauphine, and more.

Spring/Summer 2021: Wings of Desire

Ahead of that year’s presidential elections, Ghesquière’s opening model for the SS21 runway show, Emily Danielle, wore a knit sweater that simply read “Vote.” More accessories followed that propounded his gender-inclusive ideals. Yet more surprises awaited on the purse front, where the launch of the new Coussin and the Rendez-vous bags signaled buzz-worthy cult favorites in the making.

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Cruise 2023: The Return of Kusama

For Cruise 2023, we saw the return of old Vuitton-favorite Yaoi Kusama, whose technicolor polka dots had first taken the world by storm in the early 2010s.

Now, having perfected the art of artistic partnerships with the likes of Kansai Yamamoto and Grace Coddington, Ghesquière roped in Kusama for a second edit, the Infinity Dots collection now encompassing a much wider range of purses, including monogram Empreinte and Epi styles!


Thus, we reach this juncture where, on March 5, 2024, exactly 10 years to the day of his debut collection, Ghesquière staged his tenth-anniversary show, also at the Cour Carrée of Paris. What has been the reason for its smashing success? 

As The Guardian notes, “There were no gimmicks. No pop star parachuted onto the catwalk. There were no food trucks or rollerskating waitresses. Just a fashion show for Brigitte Macron, Emma Stone, Cate Blanchett, and 3,997 others.” 


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