Pull out your belly shirts and celebrate: Jean-Paul Gaultier is back
For the informed consumer, Jean-Paul Gaultier is one of the most fashionable brands in the world. This is despite the fact that she hasn’t produced a ready-to-wear collection since 2014. Gaultier is still one of the best-selling vintage brands on The RealReal, where the prices of her fishnet tops print and his wacky men’s clothes seem to rise ever higher. His influence spans the most trendy and emerging brands in fashion, from Marine Serre to Collina Strada. The sticky silhouette the brand championed for women’s clothing in the 1990s is now the driving force behind the category, and its feminine vision for men’s clothing – the designer was a fan of men’s skirts and shirts – is also on today’s agenda. And while some brands find their aftermarket appeal to be just another trend, Gaultier seems to have some sort of archival resistance, with buyers viewing the brand’s pieces more as collectibles than grails. fashionable. (It’s a staple of the hugely influential vintage boutique Procell since it opened, for example.) The garment, with its singular silhouette and political undertones, seems to really mean something to fashion fanatics.
All of this essentially happened without Gaultier producing any product other than perfume and couture. There was a successful collaboration with Supreme in 2019 and an announcement last year that Gaultier himself would hand over his couture collections to a rotating cast of designers, with Sacai designer Chitose Abe first. (This collection was slated to debut last year, but was pushed back due to Covid, and will now debut next Couture Week in July.) Then, last week, Gaultier posted “The End “on Instagram, leading everyone to wonder if this was, well, the end.
It turned out to be quite the opposite. On Wednesday, the brand announced a ready-to-wear reboot with a new Creative Director, Florence Tétier, who has made a name for herself as a designer of playful and rococo jewelry firmly in the Gaultier mold, as well as the founder of November Magazine. Tétier’s first collection arrived a few days later, with a Friday of various interpretations of Gaultier’s marine classics, such as sailor striped shirts, by five guest designers: Ottolinger, Palomo Spain, Marvin M’Toumo, Lecourt Mansion and Alan Crocetti. There’s also an offer of vintage – most of which sold out late Friday morning – and recreations or reinterpretations of Gaultier’s grails, like his hot pink men’s sailor suit. The prices are correct, almost nothing exceeds 500 euros, and the number of pieces is around 100. And the youth of the collaborators is also admirable. Most of these designers are still early in the season and have cult names for Gen Z, rather than the usual roster of fashion industry veterans. It’s a bit of a mixed offer, but the incredibly odd video, featuring models Bella Hadid (who has encyclopedic knowledge of Gautlier, according to brand CEO Antoine Gagey), Omar Sesay and Qaher Harhash, and directed by Charlotte Wales, makes me look forward to seeing more.
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