It was only a few days ago that legendary fashion designer Jean-Paul Gaultier announced his retirement from Paris couture fashion week, noting that his spring 2020 show would be his final one. On Twitter he shared a video in which he casually told someone the news over the phone in French, writing in the post, “This show celebrating 50 years of my career will also be my last.”
The 67-year-old gained recognition for dressing Madonna in reinvented corsets and continued to become famous for his designs that subverted traditional style and gender codes, including skirts for men. In addition to his riotous designs, he is known for his uncharacteristic casting, often employing street casting and showcasing diverse models long before inclusion was an industry buzzword. He also created a television series called “Eurotrash,” did a stint as the creative director of Hermès from 2003 to 2010, and collaborated with cool kid brand Supreme on a ready-to-wear collection in 2019. Needless to say, the designer has achieved a lot in the past 50 years, and is well-deserving of a new chapter.
On Twitter, many people called him a fashion icon and thanked him for his contributions, while others called it the “end of an era.” And though the news is definitely emotional for fashion fans and culture at large, in the same post, JPG also shared that his “Haute Couture will continue with a new concept.” While we’re anxiously awaiting more details on what that might look like, yesterday the designer presented his big celebratory show. And in true Jean-Paul Gaultier form it was one we will never forget.
Showcasing over 200 looks featuring upcycled garments from his archive, the theatrical show included a mix of supermodels, fresh-faced models, dancers, movie stars, and pop culture icons. Among the iconic group was Gigi and Bella Hadid, Karlie Kloss, Winnie Harlow, Irina Shayk, Coco Rocha, Paris Jackson, Yasmin Le Bon, Farida Khelfa, Erin O’Connor, Rossy de Palma, Amanda Lear, and Estelle Lefébure. There were even performances by Catherine Ringer of Les Rita Mitsouko and Boy George.
“We have a lot of models that I love who came especially to make my show, so I am very happy,” the designer told British Vogue backstage at the Theatre du Châtelet where the show took place. The audience was just as buzzworthy as the models that walked his show. According to Vogue, the crowd included Isabel Marant, Dries Van Noten, Christian Louboutin, Mary Katrantzou, Christian Lacroix, Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren, Paco Rabanne’s Julien Dossena, and Gaultier’s former intern Nicolas Ghesquière. We can’t wait to see what JPG will do next.