Holy hell, people, this is an upset the likes of which we have not seen since John Galliano‘s infamous fall from grace: the great Nicolas Ghesquière, the man responsible for dramatically revitalizing the house of Balenciaga… is parting ways with the label.

Per Cathy Horyn at the New York Times:

A company announcement Monday morning said the decision for him to leave Balenciaga after 15 years as creative director was made jointly by Mr. Ghesquière and PPR, which owns the label. A spokesman for Balenciaga, Lionel Vermeil, had no additional information.

The news is surprising because it was thought that PPR executives were happy with Balenciaga’s performance in recent years and with the kudos Mr. Ghesquière has received for his often electrifying runway collections. PPR’s founder, the art patron François-Henri Pinault, was seen backstage in September at the spring 2013 show. The number of Balenciaga stores has grown to 62, with a concerted effort in Asia. In the news release, Mr. Pinault praised Mr. Ghesquière as “an incomparable creative talent.” He leaves at the end of the month.

We are actually astonished– Ghesquière has become synonymous with Balenciaga in a way that few creative directors ever do. He is responsible for revamping the aesthetic, achieving consistent critical darling status and churning out more than a few classic collections, like his triumphant, wildly influential reimagining of futurism, the Spring 2007 showHis name came up a few times during the whole Dior/YSL musical chairs and he was commonly thought to be unmoveable.

It’ll be fascinating to see where he goes next. Could this mean another huge shake-up?