Dutch couturier Josephus Thimister, Balenciaga's artistic director in the 1990s, is to be guest designer at the January haute couture shows in Paris, the French Couture Federation said Monday.

The federation invites fashion houses to show collections at its twice-yearly catwalk presentations even though they do not meet the full criteria of couture.

Last season's were Beirut-based Rabih Kayrouz, who has worked at Dior and Chanel, and who had just opened a show room in Paris, and French label Alexander Matthieu, founded by Alexandre Morgado and Matthieu Bureau.

Thimister, born in Maastricht in 1962, worked for Balenciaga's luxury ready-to-wear lines from 1991 to 1997 before setting up his own house.

France's Fashion Dictionary said that at Balenciaga he "contributed through his minimalist style and great skills in cutting in modernising the house's image."

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