Kristen Stewart has had a close relationship with Balenciaga designer Nicolas Ghesquière since she was 14. And she has often sported the designer's clothes to premieres and events - including the midriff-baring top she wore to the AFI Fest screening of "On the Road" this Saturday.
But now that Ghesquière has unexpectedly announced that he will depart the iconic French fashion house at the end of the month, Hollywood is wondering if celebs will follow the much-loved designer, wearing his new creations for red-carpet events, or whether they will continue to support the label.
Under Ghesquière's direction, the fashion house cemented relationships with celebrities, designing Oscar dresses for Jennifer Connelly and Nicole Kidman. Kidman also wore a Balenciaga bridal gown when she married Keith Urban in 2006.
"It's been fun being around [Nicolas Ghesquière] and seeing how things come out so impulsively and naturally in his work. Everything that Nicolas produces draws fearless people. You need to be an individual. It's not in your face, but it's not to be denied. He's one of the only guys I've ever met in this world where I feel like I'm working with a director," Stewart said in an interview. "Fashion can be a very superficial thing, all about money. But he creates a show. Sure you can pull clothes out of the show but its very conceptual. There are other people like that but it's rare."
The brand - owned by PPR, a luxury French conglomerate that also owns Gucci and Saint Laurent Paris - was launched in Spain in 1918. But its founder, Cristóbal Balenciaga, closed the fashion house in 1968 shortly before he passed away. Before shuttering the doors, Balenciaga was a famed mentor to Oscar de la Renta, Emanuel Ungaro and Hubert de Givenchy. In 1986, Jacques Bogart S.A. bought the rights to Balenciaga, and started a new ready-to-wear line. PPR acquired the label in 2001 as part of a large buying spree, which included Bottega Veneta and partnership deals with Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen.
"Cristóbal Balenciaga was a master, a genius whose avant-garde vision dictated fashion's greatest trends and inspired generations of designers," Francois-Henri Pinault, chairman and CEO of the French luxury conglomerate PPR, said in the statement. "With an incomparable creative talent, Nicolas has brought to Balenciaga an artistic contribution essential to the unique influence of the house."
PPR, previously known as Pinault-Printemps-Redoute, has grabbed headlines in recent months for appointing famed designer Hedi Slimane at Saint Laurent Paris and then changing the name of the label from Yves Saint Laurent to Saint Laurent Paris. When Slimane and Pinault made the decision, you could hear loud cries in the pristine offices of fashion editors demanding why.
From the moment Slimane was appointed, he became a controversial figure. And lukewarm reviews of his debut in early October only made matters worse. Yet despite the media circus that surrounded the debuts of Slimane and Raf Simons at Christian Dior Ghesquière managed to make a huge impact with his Spring 2013 collection. Mixing a crisp black-and-white palette, supersize ruffles and sultry, midriff-baring cutouts, Ghesquière wove a tale of brash sexiness. The feat was that the pieces never looked crass. "It's the most sensual collection I've ever done," Ghesquière admitted before the show.
Gushing about her favorite Balenciaga jacket, Kristen Stewart said: "It might as well be permanently attached to me . It's like a second skin." The question is: Will the love affair remain once her friend has departed?