Dutch couturier Josephus Thimister died at age 57. Thimister, known for his work at Balenciaga suffered from depression for many years. His name was often linked to “The New Guard”, together with creatives Nicolas Ghesquière (currently at Louis Vuitton), Hedi Slimane, Viktor & Rolf, and Junya Watanabe.
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Earlier today, we received the sad news that Dutch couturier Josephus Thimister has passed away. After suffering from depression for years, the life of Balenciaga’s former creative director has come to an end.
Thimister was born in Maastricht, The Netherlands. While following education in Belgium and England, he was one of the most prestiguous students of Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Arts. He got noticed very soon after his graduation. When he met late Karl Lagerfeld at one of his Chanel shows, Lagerfeld told him he was simply too talented to be his assistant. Nonetheless, Thimister worked for Lagerfeld’s eponymous label briefly.
Work for Balenciaga
Soon after his debut at Karl Lagerfeld, Thimister started at Balenciaga in 1992. He debuted with a fascinating collection solely in black and white, while focussing on Cristóbal Balenciaga’s siganture dramatic forms and shapes.
Barneys was one of the first to support the new designer and it marked the start of the Balenciaga’s rebirth. After 10 collections, Josephus Thimister thought it was enough and soon after Nicolas Ghesquière succeeded him.
Three months later, Josephus Thimister celebrated his debut collection for his eponymous brand. After working day and night together with his team, January 1996 was his moment of shine. He showed his collection at Paris Couture Week and became an instant hit. What else would you expect from a beloved designer by the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture?
While there wasn’t money at the start of the label – his sisters financially supported Thimister and Naomi Campbell walked his show for free – he continued to believe in his label. Amongst others, Inès de la Fressange, Deeda Blair and Anne Bass were part of his famous fanbase.
Later, his ready-to-wear collection followed. With this collection, Thimister “radically reimagined the very meaning of luxury”. In 2010, Thimister returned to haute couture, with a collection named “1915: Bloodshed and Opulence”. It featured military influences together with canvas tents, alternated by luxurious and haute couture-worthy materials.
In his last years, he passed on his extensive knowledge of fashion to students of La Cambre in Brussels and at the Institut Français de la Mode. May he rest in peace.