Josephus Melchior Thimister, the Dutch designer who died of suicide last week at age 57, was, the couturier Ralph Rucci said, “the greatest designer of his generation.”
Anne Chapelle, the Belgian businesswoman who once backed him, called him “a master.”
He had run the house of Balenciaga for five years, started his own couture and ready-to-wear collections, had his home on the cover of The World of Interiors, and been crowned by Vogue as one of the new century’s “fashion stars.”
And yet, at the time of his death, aside from a small group of fashion insiders with long memories, most people did not know his name.
A talent who was able to balance on the knife edge between poetry and a grungy kind of power, who was fond of tattered romance, a sweeping Byronic trench, and the perfect line, Mr. Thimister was also a casualty of fashion’s transition from the creative hothouse of individuality to the global industry.