JEAN PAUL GAULTIER — The End of a New Era

Words by Peter Yeap.

Jean Paul Gaultier, the one-time enfant terrible of French fashion, who continually challenge the contemporary style barometer and turned Madonna’s conical bras and basques into a feminist yet quintessential designs in history, presented his final spring-summer 2015 women’s ready-to-wear collection during Paris Fashion Week. The designer proclaimed at the commencement of the women’s fashion week that this Saturday show would be his last prêt-à-porter collection, and that he was going to focus on couture design and fragrance and special collaborations within the industry. The news was shocked by notables from fashion industry who have long considered Mr. Gaultier one of the genius designer in fashion, neither on nor off the runway. 

He’s always been a showman. I do think that recently his whole emphasis has been much more on the couture and having fun with the couture. I don’t think we’re going to lose that Gaultier moment.
— Anna Wintour, Editor-in-chief of Vogue Magazine.

Celebrities including French actress Catherine Deneuve and Bitish pop singer Boy George, as well as designer Alber Elbaz and Rick Owens, came all the way to the Art Deco auditorium of the Le Grand Rex theatre in central Paris and experienced one of the highly-anticipated fashion extravaganza. 

The 62-year-old flamboyant showman of Paris fashion thrilled his spectators by putting on a five-part journey through his 40 years of design achieved as well as his eccentric artistry with a “Miss France” beauty pageant theme. With categories ranging from “Miss Footballer’s Wife” where model taking selfies with their phones while marched down the runway to “Miss Fashion Editor” – a segment where models served as doppelgangers to top fashion editors. Model Magdalena Jasek walked the runway with the US Vogue’s Grace Coddington wafting red hair to cheers, while French Vogue Editor Emanuelle Alt’s personality where she can’t stop texting on her phone as she strutted down the stage. Supermodel Lindsey Wixson wore a large and identifiable quiff when she was on the character of the iconic Suzy Menkes, whom Gaultier gently sent down the runway that provoked cheers and rumbles of enjoyment.

Gaultier has such showmanship. Over the years, he is given fashion – and me – so much. He deserved his standing ovation. I was the first to my feet.
— Suzy Menkes, Editor at the International Herald Tribune.

The designer presented the revised interpretation of his renowned collection such as 80s-inspired girdle looks and the bold colourful pinstripes were among the strongest and iconic where it preoccupied in shorts, lop-sided suits and abbreviate jackets. The menswear tuxedo jackets were dissevered and mixed up with shimmery silver disco minidresses were classy and devoid of extraneous detail.

It was adieu to the nearly 40 years run of Jean Paul Gaultier ready-to-wear collection and it will certainly be missed.