Josephus Thimister, an edgy Dutch designer and couturier perhaps best known for his stint at Balenciaga in the 1990s, has died, multiple sources told WWD late Wednesday.
“It is with sadness that The Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode has learned the passing away of Josephus Thimister [1962-2019], whose avant-garde style, elegance and skills in cutting have, for many years, contributed to the creative momentum in Paris,” the French fashion’s governing body said in a statement.
No further details were immediately available.
Most recently, Thimister acted as a consultant on Emilio Pucci’s spring 2018 collection, designed by an in-house team.
A graduate of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, he designed for Balenciaga from 1992 to 1997, passing the baton to then-unknown Nicolas Ghesquière.
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Known for his cutting skills and penchant for the severe and eerie, Thimister launched in 1997 his own couture and ready-to-wear brand. He mounted fashion shows off and on until about 2011, and he had a flair for theatrical flourishes and peerless constructions.
According to the thumbnail biography composed by his longtime public relations firm 2ème Bureau in Paris, Thimister worked briefly in Karl Lagerfeld’s studio and alongside Jean Patou before joining Balenciaga. He also acted as an art director for the Italian label Genny, and from 2005 to 2007 for Charles Jourdan.
“The creations of Thimister possess a certain lightness and poetry, which creates an elegance devoid of any vanity,” the biography reads. It also cites his use of unconventional materials.
Critics described his clothes variously as raw, bleak, austere and fiercely individual.
This story originally appeared on WWD.