Style Notes: Why Ghesquiere Left Balenciaga; Met Gala Gowns for Grabs

Kristen Stewart and Nicolas Ghesquière
Getty Images

Kristen Stewart, the first celebrity face of Balenciaga's Florabotanica fragrance, poses with the French label's former creative director and designer Nicolas Ghesquière at the Met's Costume Institute Gala last May. 

Pretend it isn't Monday with these five stylish news items.

Former Balenciaga designer Nicolas Ghesquiere is finally voicing his motivations for why he left the fashion house after fifteen years: "There wasn’t really any direction. I think with Karl [Lagerfeld] and Miuccia [Prada], you can feel that it’s the creative people who have the power. It was around that time that I heard people saying, ‘Your style is so Balenciaga now, it’s no longer Nicolas Ghesquière, it’s Balenciaga’s style.’ It all became so dehumanized. Everything became an asset for the brand, trying to make it ever more corporate – it was all about branding. I don’t have anything against that; actually, the thing that I’m most proud of is that Balenciaga has become a big financial entity and will continue to exist. But I began to feel as though I was being sucked dry, like they wanted to steal my identity while trying to homogenize things. It just wasn’t fulfilling anymore." [BofF]

After already portraying noteworthy characters of literature in films like Pride and Prejudice and Anna KareninaKeira Knightley steps into the role of legendary designer Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel for the brand's upcoming 100th anniversary short film. Entitled Once Upon a Time…, the film stages the actress in front of Chanel's first shop in the coastal northwestern French town of Deavville -- just one scene of many in the short directed by Karl Lagerfeld. Other scenes include an interaction with Clotilde Hesme as Chanel's aunt and close friend Adrienne, and another with Lindsey Wixson as a fictionalized American character who shops the entire boutique's selection which, at the time, was mostly some resort pieces created with men's underwear fabrics. Knightley initially supposed the film would be a silent one like her perfume spots for the brand, but learned of her lines just before a scene is shot: “Karl Lagerfeld stage manages the actor in a truly direct way,” she said. The short will be screened on May 8, the night before a showing of Chanel’s cruise collection at Loewen Cluster in Singapore. [WWD]

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art Gala evolved into a perfect convergence of the biggest names of Hollywood and the fashion world, and this year its red carpet is a runway ready to be scavenged by stylish online shoppers livestreaming the event from home. During the Costume Institute Benefit, the luxury trunk show-style website Moda Operandi will showcase the gowns that stars are wearing, as well as looks from select designers such as Anthony Vacarello, Nina Ricci, Wes Gordon, and Balmain. The annual gala will celebrate the debut of the museum’s upcoming exhibit “Punk: Chaos to Couture," featuring looks from Rodarte, Chanel, Vivienne Westwood, and Alexander McQueen that are inspired by the distinct genre. Moda Operandi's coverage of the Met Gala arrivals kicks off at 7 p.m. EST on May 6. [StyleCaster]

Proenza Schoeler has launched a limited-edition capsule collection in partnership with Net-a-Porter. The first-time collaboration features nine pieces that "riff on the idea of surf-inspired classics like the board short and the Baja pullover, but reinterpreted in luxe fabrics like leather and custom tweeds," says designers Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez. The collection spotlights sweaters, tees, tanks and shorts in bold hues of blue and yellow, and acts as a motion of gratitude from the label to the shopping site, which has stocked the line since 2005. [Vogue UK]

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H&M is set to expand in two directions. First, the brand is moving forward with more testing of its new store concept called & Other Stories, offering higher-end add-ons such as jewelry, cosmetics, lingerie, and shoes in four basic styles: minimalist, bohemian, industrial, and glamorous. And beyond Europe, the fashion retailer plans to spend an estimated $130 million to open fifty stores throughout India. [Bloomberg]