Global fashion giant Louis Vuitton announced Monday the arrival of Nicolas Ghesquiere as its new women's design director, taking over from iconic US designer Marc Jacobs.

Ghesquiere, former director at Balenciaga, had been widely touted as a possible successor to Jacobs, who left last month after 16 years at the Parisian luxury brand.

Under Jacobs' stewardship, Louis Vuitton became one of the most sought-after luxury brands, particularly in the lucrative Asian market, with "Vuitton mania" often prompting round-the-block queues outside the brand's stores.

Louis Vuitton said the French 42-year-old Ghesquiere will be responsible for the shows, ready-to-wear collections and shoes and accessories.

Jacobs' post as artistic director has been split into three, with Kim Jones as head of menswear and Darren Spaziani running luxury leather goods.

The 50-year-old Jacobs left Louis Vuitton, now LVHM's most profitable brand, to concentrate on the stock market flotation of his own brand.

Louis Vuitton accounts for more than 70 percent of annual sales of LVMH's fashion and leather goods division which also includes the brands of Celine, Givenchy, Fendi and Kenzo. Louis Vuitton is the main profit driver of the entire LVMH group.

It turned in sales estimated at 7.3 billion euros ($9.9 billion) last year but since then has had difficulty in generating growth

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