Joseph Thimister 1962-2019

Josephus Melchior Thimister was born in Maastricht, Holland on September 16, 1962. He attended the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp and worked as an assistant for Karl Lagerfeld and later Patou before becoming the creative director of Balenciaga in 1992. Thimister left Balenciaga in 1997 to start his own label but, despite critical success, struggled to find investors. He took a side stint as creative director of Genny but in 2004 Thimister ceased designing under his own name. Between 2005 and 2007 he worked as the artistic director of Charles Jourdan, the shoe company.

He then worked different jobs: an interior designer, consultant at Pucci, and taught at la Cambre art school in Brussels and the Institut Francais de la Mode in Paris. He returned to fashion with a comeback couture show in 2010 which lead to an opportunity to design ready-to-wear in 2011, but his work never found an audience. 

He possessed an artist’s temperament: dramatic, stubborn, sensitive, flamboyant, and moody, and eventually his depression got the best of him. Thimister commited suicide at the age of 57 on November 13.

Thimister dress, Image by Irving Penn for Vogue, April 1999

About Jonathan

Jonathan Walford is a fashion historian and co-founder of the Fashion History Museum in Cambridge, Ontario. The FHM maintains a collection of nearly 12,000 artifacts dating from the mid 17th century to the present. Jonathan has authored various books and museum catalogues, including The Seductive Shoe, Shoes A-Z, Forties Fashion, 1950s American Fashion, and Sixties Fashion.
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