JEAN-PAUL GAULTIER’S SWAN SONG

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A career spanning over 50 years, a designer who loves to surprise and shock, a mark left on the history of fashion – only one man can boast such a life and such biography. And if you still haven’t guessed who has earned such an honorary place today, then we will gladly reveal his name to you. To your attention, please, we give you Jean-Paul Gaultier, who presented his last haute couture collection in Paris, before indulging in a well-deserved rest.


 

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For women who man to reach the Moon

Jean-Paul Gaultier starts his career without the education that a large part of his colleagues has. At the age of 18, he is hired by Pierre Cardin, who is fascinated by his sketches. Jean-Paul keeps fond memories of this period and shares that the work with Pierre made him believe that everything is possible. He often quotes Cardin’s words that had a deep impact on him and his work: “I want to see collections created for women who are on their way to the moon!” And Jean-Paul takes this precise piece of advice. Naturally, at the beginning Gaultier isn’t exactly aware of what his style is, but rather creates designs that he imagines would please the people he works for. He creates with his own hands but sees through their eyes. He also spends some time at the house of Jean Patou, when the designer of the brand is Michel Goma, whose style Jean-Paul actually loves. But there always comes the time when we should prove what we are worth on our own. And Gaultier comes to this realisation, too.


 

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Freedom

Jean-Paul’s first solo collection is shown in 1976 and it quickly draws the attention with its untraditional materials and design. In 1997 Gaultier embarks on creating his first haute couture line. And it was exactly through high fashion that he manages to unfold his talent to the fullest without worrying about any borders or limitations. Freedom is a source of creativity, freedom overcomes fear. Finding inspiration in different cultures, the designer finds success. Next follows a business proposal by Hermès, which Jean-Paul accepts and heads the brand as a creative director. Hermès acquires a 30% stake in Gaultier’s company.


 

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An end or a new beginning

Jean-Paul Gaultier leaves Hermès in 2010 and chooses to focus on his own brand, which something we are very happy about. Throughout the seasons, he creates iconic dresses and builds up his unique style. Many of his collections have shown inspiration from different painters and even the Eiffel Tower. Sumptuous and splendid, or subtle and discreet, Gaultier’s designs continue to astound us. In 2014, Jean-Paul discontinues his men’s and ready-to-wear lines, and last month, we heard the news about the last couture collection of the designer as announced on social media. Even the swan sang has its end!


 

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A lesson in French haute couture

The grand finale has never been more spectacular. Perhaps the last time is even more important than the first. Jean-Paul Gaultier presented his 50th and final haute couture collection with some help from the supermodels of the 80s and the 90s, and, of course, the most popular faces from the world of fashion nowadays. Music, dancing, extravagance, beauty, provocation – Gaultier at his finest. Théâtre du Châtelet in the French capital was chosen as the location for the significant event. It was a true spectacle and more than 200 looks were presented on the catwalk. Among the guests were Carla Bruni, Christian Louboutin and many other friends and colleagues. As a matter of fact, even with his first show in 1976, Gaultier raised awareness about the changing world. He picked up on topics such as gender equality, the environment, and biodiversity long before anybody else did. He reflected actual life and what he saw right on the streets. Backstage, Jean-Paul shares that back then he recycled materials simply because he didn’t have enough means.

Gaultier defined the image of strong women who are confident wearing corsets, he dressed men in skirts and took care of Madonna’s look during her Blonde Ambition tour. For his last show, the designer also invited on stage Boy George, who performed Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black. And speaking about the stage, with all these celebrities around, Jean-Paul decided to surprise us by adding a coffin, which a model wearing a white bridal dress came out of. A last show that was transformed into a celebration of beauty, a worthy ending of a career that left its mark on fashion history. Jean-Paul Gaultier made us dream, laugh and sympathise in a way that only he can and with style, of course!
























Text: Zhana Miteva

Photos: Instagram, Vogue.com

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