After 50 years, Jean Paul Gaultier says Au Revoir

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Photos: Jean Paul Gaultier

For the past 50 years Jean Paul Gaultier acted as one of the kings of fashion. But this year he decided to retire. And to create a giant fashion show celebrating all of his brand’s values and iconic creations, guaranteeing that his last couture collection would be remembered forever.

Because this was above all a celebration, the casting featured models that were friends from the brand (like Anna Cleveland and Yasmin Le Bon) as well as todays supermodels such as the Hadid sisters and Karlie Kloss. The collection was also divided in five chapter, each celebrating a brand value and iconic piece.

Chapter I

Chapter I had three subdivisions: make it do, naughty bits and wasp waits.

Make it do was meant to show that “old is new again”. It explores the brand’s history with upcycling fabrics and pieces. When Jean Paul Gaultier started in fashion, he didn’t have enough money to keep buying giant amounts of luxurious fabrics. So he started creating with what he had at the moment.

Naughty bits is a celebration of underwear (that, in this case, are meant to go above and beyond). Gaultier’s most iconic work with the theme is Madonna’s cone bodysuit for the 1990 blonde ambition tour. He also worked a lot with corsets, turning it from a symbol of oppression towards women’s bodies to the one of a person completely in control.

Wasp waists is a homage to belts in the most Haute Couture way possible.

Chapter II

Chapter II had two subdivisions: French accent (show me your coq) and live and let dye. The first one is supposed to be couture’s wildest erotic dream, while the other is a couture twist to upcycled denim.

Chapter III

Chapter III had five subdivisions: pas mon genre, satyre icons, fashion pack, peace on me, and Irish coffee.

Pas mon genre worked around tailoring, couture classics and gender norms. Gaultier was a sympathizer throughout his whole career with the idea of gender fluidity.

Satyre Icons gave a decadent spin to classics of Haute Couture.

Fashion Pack was a homage to the brand’s old friends.

Peace on me gave a couture twist to the camo print.

Irish coffee was meant to have a Celtic groove. Gaultier has always been a fan got a lot of his inspirations from the UK.

Chapter IV

Chapter IV had three subdivisions: look at RGZ fine print, needle mania and ginger spice.

Look at RGZ fine print was created with the upcycling of what the designer calls “treasures,” such as vintage Hermès and Gaultier scarves.

Needle mania was a homage to couture’s embroideries, which usually takes hundreds of hours of work.

Ginger spice was a love letter.

Chapter V

Chapter V was the last chapter and had only one subdivision: Wait! There’s more!

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