This morning Nicolas Ghesquière announced his departure from Balenciaga. After 15 years as creative director, Tom Ford’s “favorite contemporary designer” is making a quick exit, his official end-date is November 30th. It’s a bit of a shock; before Ghesquière, Balenciaga was in danger of following late, great houses such as Schiaparelli and Pierre Cardin into extinction. In spite of its illustrious past, the Spanish house floundered after the death of its founder Cristóbal Balenciaga in 1972. It wasn’t until Ghesquière’s appointment as creative director in 1997 that the house found its footing. His promotion was a risky move, Ghesquière was only 25 at the time. He had served as an assistant for Jean Paul Gaultier and designed for Balenciaga’s Asian market—impressive but not the same as helming a house. Needless to say, the decision was successful; prescient in the early 2000s, his exaggerated, severe silhouettes, and corset bodices defined the fashion of the decade. With his voracious celebrity and fashion-critic following, we’re sure that Ghesquière will continue to dominate our wardrobes. Our concern is whether Balenciaga can survive without Ghesquière.