HTSI editor’s letter: Ghesquière and the gang
Simply sign up to the Style myFT Digest -- delivered directly to your inbox.
Ten years is a long time in fashion – especially today. At Louis Vuitton, Nicolas Ghesquière is celebrating a decade as the artistic director of womenswear division, a true feat when one considers that his tenure has coincided with the advent of so many innovations, including two new shows on the calendar, a brief spell of see-now-buy-now, the virtual fashion show and the unstoppable ascent of social media. Ghesquière, now 52, remains an undisputed master at one of the world’s most successful houses, a design force with the spirit of a couturier. Co-headed by Ghesquière, Francesca Amfitheatrof in high jewellery and Pharrell Williams, who now designs the menswear, Louis Vuitton has been the first luxury brand to break €20bn in annual sales: its global reach and power is phenomenal.
For this issue we have taken a look back over Ghesquière’s LV career, with the help of some of his best-known ambassadors. We gathered this elite girl gang in Paris just after the SS24 show – and each was photographed in a look from his archive. What struck me was how fondly everyone spoke of Ghesquière – many of them have been friends with him for years. Meanwhile, coordinating so many schedules, outfits, dresses and hair and make-up artists was no small task, so special thanks go to HTSI style director Isabelle Kountoure.
Having returned from Tokyo only a few weeks ago, after a lightning four-day stay, I felt a pang of longing on reading David Coggins and James Harvey-Kelly’s essay about the city. Tokyo remains one of the most mysterious and exciting places in the world, a tease of fantasy interiors, retail opportunities, immaculate design and undiscovered restaurants. In the brief moment I was there, I spent the evenings walking its streets (it’s the perfect city for solo perambulation) just trying to get a better sense of the Japanese capital’s geography and culture. David’s piece is a great primer for the visitor who wants to sample the best the city has to offer. Sadly, there is never time to do Tokyo justice: there are always so many more tantalising corners one longs to explore. But that’s the beauty of Japan – you always leave it desperate to return.
Hong Kong is another city in which one can feel an almost nervous panic about how to spend it, so I am also grateful for a guide by the watch entrepreneur and influencer Austen Chu. The co-founder of the Shanghai Watch Gang evidently spends a lot of time in its luxury retail centres, but I’m delighted to see Yardbird on his lists of restaurants to love (I can still taste the chicken-skin yakitori skewers that I ate there many years ago), as well as his recommendations for traditional Chinese food. I’ve made a note for whenever I’m next in Shau Kei Wan.
And finally, are you the sort of person who likes a medical exam? Do you feel emboldened by “the full picture”? If so, Maria Shollenbarger’s piece about the new ultra-diagnostic offers on the market will be just the prescription; she has tried a battery of tests in order to coordinate a strategy for living better – and for longer. Maria volunteers for the whole assessment, including dietary health, muscular strength and cognitive impairment, as well various genetic illnesses and traits of cancer. She returns armed with a bespoke diagnostic toolkit that should ward off age-related illness – and keep her in touch with the best medics in the business. I can’t say I’m the type of person who seeks out information about my health – I’m more of a head-in-the-sand ty pe when it comes to hidden ailments. But having read her analysis, I have resolved to do one thing: eat a greater variety of cruciferous vegetables.