The Jean Paul Gaultier brand is back to sea

It was January 2020. Jean Paul Gaultier, sailor slipped under a pump attendant’s overalls, bade farewell to haute couture in a rather breathtaking parade bringing together some 200 models and personalities on the podium. The creator said he wanted to pass the torch to a new creative generation. Sixteen months later, it’s done. He took the field, but remains “Ambassador of the house”, involved in the choice of designers that the brand wishes to involve and in various special projects.

The first stage of Jean Paul Gaultier’s revival took shape on May 28, 2021 with the relaunch of the ready-to-wear activity, suspended since 2015. No question of announcing the arrival of a new designer to replace the one of the most famous French couturiers in the world, but rather to offer a protean collection, produced by a creative collective.

“Physical” parade scheduled for July

“We have set ourselves a mission: to celebrate Jean Paul Gaultier, his creativity, his history, while continuing the battles he has always led, particularly in terms of inclusiveness”, explains Antoine Gagey, general manager of the brand (owned by the Puig group). And all this without taking into account the traditional fashion calendar but by putting online in a dedicated e-shop a panel of clothes and accessories declined around a theme. The first chosen is that of the sailor. About fifteen people got down to the task, at 325 rue Saint-Martin, in Paris.

“The idea is to bring together different points of view on what Jean Paul Gaultier is today by mobilizing our internal creative teams, the studio and the couture workshop, who have knowledge of the know-how and the archives. , but also by going outside to seek designers, artists, emerging talents, even friends of the house so that they reappropriate the Gaultier codes ”, continues Antoine Gagey.

The famous striped sweater revisited by the brand's haute couture workshop.

At the helm of this vast project, Florence Tétier, creative director of the brand, plays the conductor on the schedule of “drops”, product variations, upcoming themes, fundamental principles (unisex pieces, without seasonality or overproduction but according to desires and opportunities). Or the “physical” haute couture show, scheduled for early July, in collaboration with Sacai, a Japanese label designed by virtuoso stylist Chitose Abe.

“Jean · ne Paul · e Gaultier · e” t-shirt

For this “pop up” collection celebrating sailors, several components have been imagined. The little hands of the haute couture workshop have revisited, in the form of seven unique pieces, the famous marinière worn over time by Farida Khelfa, Ines de la Fressange, Raquel Zimmermann and many others. With a view to recycling, these models have been worked from parts from the house’s stock. They are the most expensive of the collection, which ranges in prices from 150 to 1,500 euros.

At the same time, five “young designers” were invited to create their JPG silhouette. Alongside Nicola Lecourt Mansion, Palomo Spain, Alan Crocetti, we find two more familiar names: Ottolinger, the duo of Swiss designers based in Berlin, as well as Marvin M’Toumo, winner of the Chloé prize last year at the Festival international de la mode, in Hyères.

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Finally, a short selection of genuine vintage pieces (from the archives of the house or bought back from the depots on Vestiaire Collective) is also available. While retaining the gently sulphurous style of the house, this collection tribute to sailors is a praise of the collective and the diversity of the communities, even on the labels of the clothes where the name of the invited talents forms with that of JPG a “69” or on a T-shirt stamped “Jean · ne Paul · e Gaultier · e”, designed by graphic designers Roxanne Maillet and Marie-Mam Saï Bellier, echoing the debate on inclusive writing.

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As for the sailor tops worn over the years by Jean Paul Gaultier himself, as at the Elysée Palace, where he was received by François Mitterrand in 1985, or on the photos taken by William Klein in the backstage of the legendary parade of the collection ” Barbès ”in 1984, they should also resurface. Deceptively classic and inseparable from the designer, they had never been marketed until now, but will inspire some reproductions sold in this marine opus. Fans will appreciate the gesture. A little fetishist. Very Gaultier, after all.