In the decade since Nicolas Ghesquière was appointed at Louis Vuitton, he’s cultivated a powerful elite. Here, using key pieces from his 38 collections, we celebrate his heroes

Alicia Vikander

The Swedish actor trained as a professional ballet dancer with the Royal Swedish Ballet School before pivoting to acting in her late teens, and was propelled to fame after winning an Oscar for her portrayal of the painter Gerda Wegener in The Danish Girl in 2016. A Louis Vuitton muse since 2015, for this shoot she wears the opening look from Ghesquière’s AW14 collection, which she first wore eight years ago when she starred alongside Bradley Cooper in the kitchen drama Burnt. She picked up her Academy Award wearing a bespoke yellow ballgown by the designer – a moment that transformed Ghesquière’s reputation for exceptional red-carpet gowns. “I love the fact that fashion allows me to step into different personas and shoes and really push those boundaries, but [Nicolas] just always makes everything still feel like me,” she says, “like an extended and bigger version of myself.”
Hair, Rudi Lewis. Make-up, Hélène Vasnier

Jennifer Connelly wearing SS16
© Bibi Cornejo Borthwick

Jennifer Connelly

Connelly has been a muse and friend of Ghesquière’s ever since she first wore a custom gown by the designer, then at the helm of Balenciaga, to pick up an Oscar for her role in A Beautiful Mind in 2002. The strapless, tiered taupe dress marked Ghesquière’s major red-carpet debut. “I really appreciated his vision and his confidence as a designer,” says the actor, seen here in the Bubble minidress and painted leather waistcoat from the SS16 show. “His work is so innovative and pioneering, and he’s made such bold choices, from making a short dress for the Met Gala to putting big combat boots or sneakers with a dress – those kinds of choices that we now take for granted.”
Hair, Laurence Walker. Make-up, Celia Burton

Doona Bae wearing Louis Vuitton AW18
© Bibi Cornejo Borthwick

Doona Bae

The first time that Doona Bae met Ghesquière was at Louis Vuitton’s cruise show outside the Prince’s Palace of Monaco in 2014. “He was so smiley and nice, and I just fell in love with his work,” says the South Korean actor, who has appeared in Netflix hit series Kingdom and Sense8 and is starring alongside Anthony Hopkins in the upcoming sci-fi film Rebel Moon. For this shoot, she wears a houndstooth wool waist-trainer and leather trousers from AW18. “He presents a vision of women that is strong but still very feminine and delicate.” Having worked as an ambassador for the maison since 2016, she says her favourite memory was closing the Cruise show in Kyoto in 2017. “I remember I was struggling a bit with how to walk on the runway but Nicolas was like, ‘Doona, don’t worry, just be yourself. You’ve got this’, and making me feel better. That was a really special moment.”
Hair, Peter Gray. Make-up, Mel Arter

Rianne Van Rompaey wearing RE15

Rianne Van Rompaey

With her striking red hair and freckled porcelain skin, the Dutch model’s Pre-Raphaelite beauty has made her a catwalk regular ever since her first major season: she was exclusively booked to close Ghesquière’s debut show for Louis Vuitton in 2014. “It’s quite emotional for me because his 10-year anniversary is also my 10-year anniversary in the industry,” says Van Rompaey, seen here in the high-waisted lemon-yellow trousers and perforated sweater from the Resort 2015 collection. “That show changed my life. I still remember exactly how the show space looked, and how scary it felt to walk, as the stairs were in this weird shape and it was my first time in heels.” She’s since gone on to front multiple campaigns for the brand, travelling everywhere from Rio de Janeiro to Palm Springs. “I’ve met some of my best friends at Louis Vuitton. It’s been a really important thread throughout my life.”
Hair, Rudi Lewis. Make-up, Hélène Vasnier. Van Rompaey is at Viva

Lous and the Yakuza wearing Louis Vuitton SS21
© Bibi Cornejo Borthwick

Lous and the Yakuza

The trailblazing Belgian-Congolese singer and rapper Lous and the Yakuza – whose sound blends silky R&B with trap and Afrobeats – describes working with Ghesquière, who custom-designed her tour outfits for her most recent album, Iota, as “a delight. He just understands who I am as an artist, and my style, and incorporates that into his vision.” For this shoot she wears a sequin-embroidered silk minidress and bomber jacket from the SS21 collection. “It’s very shiny and intense but casual at the same time because the cut is kind of boyish and it’s not tight on the body. I love how he always works with unconventional shapes and pairs something super-girly with something like this huge jacket to make it more edgy. It’s like you care and you don’t care at the same time.”
Hair, Peter Gray. Make-up, Mel Arter

Haim wearing Louis Vuitton RE22
© Bibi Cornejo Borthwick

Este, Danielle and Alana Haim

Sisters and bandmates Este, Danielle and Alana of the indie rock band Haim joined Ghesquière’s roster of house ambassadors last year – though they’ve been fans of his ever since they were teenagers in LA. “We grew up dressing ourselves and going to thrift stores trying to recreate his looks, so when we found out Louis Vuitton was interested in working with us, it was like this holy grail,” says Danielle. “I feel like we manifested it,” chimes Alana, the youngest of the trio. They wore his leather trousers and bralettes throughout their worldwide tour for Women in Music Pt III. “It’s hard not to be happy in his clothes,” Alana adds. “I feel like the second you put on his clothes you get an overwhelming feeling, and I think it’s because he’s so vibrant. Like, as soon as I put on these clothes [for the shoot], I just wanted to dance and have a good time, and it’s because he is that person – he puts that into his creations.” Here, the trio wear the admiral-style jackets, shirt and trousers from the Resort 2022 collection. “Like, why don’t I own this?” asks Alana.
Este and Alana Haim’s hair, Laurence Walker. Danielle Haim’s hair, Peter Gray. Make-up, Celia Burton

Renate Reinsve wearing Louis Vuitton SS19
© Bibi Cornejo Borthwick

Renate Reinsve

The Norwegian actor was on the verge of quitting to start a new career in carpentry when she landed the lead in Joachim Trier’s 2021 film The Worst Person In the World. The film earned her the Cannes Film Festival Award for best actress and catapulted her to stardom; she is next to star alongside Pedro Pascal in horror film Weapons. For this shoot, she wears a sculptural sequin-embroidered mesh dress from Ghesquière’s sci-fi-flavoured SS19 collection. She describes his creations as having a liberating effect. “Coming from Norway, where we have tall poppy syndrome and you’re not supposed to stand out, being in these clothes for the first time I feel very powerful,” she says. “They bring out a part of me that I haven’t been able to have out that much – the powerful, beautiful part.”
Hair, Peter Gray. Make-up, Mel Arter

Léa Seydoux wearing Louis Vuitton SS20
© Bibi Cornejo Borthwick

Léa Seydoux

The French actor, who has worked with leading directors including Quentin Tarantino (Inglourious Basterds), Abdellatif Kechiche (Blue is the Warmest Colour) and Mia Hansen-Løve (One Fine Morning), as well as starring in two Bond films, has been a Louis Vuitton muse since 2016; she first appeared in the brand’s travel campaign shot in Luis Barragán’s candy-coloured ranch in Mexico. “For me, he’s a real artist in the sense that he’s created his own language of fashion and a real ‘Ghesquière’ silhouette,” says the actor, seen here in a chevron-print wool waistcoat and wool suit from SS20. “And I love that he’s inspired by so many things, from architecture to cinema to painting. He’s just full of life and he has this real curiosity and depth – even in his clothes, you feel his emotion and his sensitivity.”
Hair, Rudi Lewis. Make-up, Hélène Vasnier

Ana De Armas wearing Louis Vuitton SS22
© Bibi Cornejo Borthwick

Ana De Armas

De Armas describes her first meeting with Ghesquière at the AW21 show in the Louvre as “love at first sight”. “There’s this closeness to him. He’s always hugging, and you just feel that there is no façade there,” says the Cuban-Spanish actor, whose film roles include a CIA agent in No Time to Die and a hologram in Blade Runner 2049. Seen here wearing an embroidered silk slip dress from Ghesquière’s 19th-century-inspired SS22 show, she says her favourite-ever Louis Vuitton look was the custom-made silver silk organza gown she wore to this year’s Academy Awards after being nominated for best actress for playing Marilyn Monroe in Blonde. “I told [Nicolas] and my glam team that day that I wanted to feel like myself, and for people to see me and not the dress or the make-up or the hair, and he just got it. I felt so comfortable and effortless – that dress was literally my skin with sparkles.”
Hair, Rudi Lewis. Make-up, Hélène Vasnier

Mona Tougaard wearing Louis Vuitton SS17
© Bibi Cornejo Borthwick

Mona Tougaard

Scouted at the age of just 12 in her hometown of Aarhus, the 21-year-old – who is of Somali, Ethiopian, Turkish and Danish heritage – went on to win Denmark’s Elite Model Look Competition at 15, and has since become one of the most sought-after faces in the industry. She first worked with Louis Vuitton for the AW19 show and has been a regular presence on Ghesquière’s catwalk. “It’s always like working with family,” says the model, who here wears a cut-out, brick-red silk dress from the SS17 collection. “He’s super-loyal and has a really good energy, so you’re always happy at the fittings and at the shows – he just makes you feel comfortable.”
Hair, Peter Gray. Make-up, Celia Burton. Tougaard is at Elite

Hair, Rudi Lewis at LGA, Laurence Walker at Streeters and Peter Gray at Home using Guerlain. Make-up, Hélène Vasnier at Home, Mel Arter at Julian Watson and Celia Burton at CLM. Nails, Christina Conrad at Calliste. Set design, Aymeric Arnould at Open Space Paris. Seamstress, Carole Savaton at Atelier on Set. Production, Michaël Lacomblez at Louis2. Photographer’s assistants, Stuart Hendry and Ian Kirby. Digital operator, Stefano Poli. Stylist’s assistants, Aylin Bayhan, Tomasso Palamin, Cecilia Baistrocchi and Anne Cecile Lemée. Hair assistants,  Céline de Cruz, Irene Brenda Ohale and Vincent Zimberlin. Make-up assistants, Xiao Yuan Yang, Ana Jeric and Viviane Melo. Manicure assistant, Marieke Bouillette

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