Jean Paul Gaultier

Jean Paul Gaultier on Inviting Haider Ackermann as Guest-Creator: “We Instantly Recognize His Signature”

Jean Paul Gaultier on Inviting Haider Ackermann as Guest-Creator: “We Instantly Recognize His Signature”

Jean Paul Gaultier continues to surprise and disrupt fashion with his guest-creator concept. His latest designer invite to the couture calendar is Haider Ackermann.
Haider Ackermann with Jean Paul Gaultier
Jean Paul Gaultier declares that once the concept of inviting a designer to collaborate with his eponymous brand came to be, he immediately thought of Haider Ackermann. After inviting Chitose Abe of Sacai, Glenn Martens of Y/ Project, and Olivier Rousteing of Balmain, the baton was passed to the French-Colombian designer. “I was curious to see what his style could bring to my universe and my codes,” Gaultier says, offering his reasoning for wanting to join forces. “Since his first collection, I thought that Haider had a very personal style, already full of maturity and mastery. We instantly recognize his signature.”
Photo: Sabine Villiard
Photo: Sabine Villiard
Gaultier is referring to Ackermann’s tailoring, which he has practically transformed into an art form. So well in fact that he even had a stint as designer of Berluti, the LVMH stalwart of luxury tailoring. “He perfectly masters the cut of jackets and pants along with his subtle sense of colors. All this was confirmed at the show,” affirms Gaultier. The collection came in elevated swaths of blues, blacks, whites, purples, and pinks on models who glided across the runway like swans. From “the meticulous hours and endless threads,” as Ackermann wrote on social media a week before his show, came haute joggers peppered with what looked like pins. There were elongated dresses and suits that expressed more by waving the many accouterments that couture can often entail. To a front row, which included Catherine Deneuve and Daphne Guinness, Ackermann revealed a collection that focused on purity of lines – a straightforward homage to the work of Gaultier. If Ackermann showed he knew how to cut an haute cloth, this show was in fact his first go at a couture showcase. He expressed his honor, surprise, and above all excitement to have access to an atelier of petites mains bringing his ideas to life.
Photo: Sabine Villiard
Ackermann, who studied fashion design at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, was originally inspired by the work of Yves Saint Laurent. He interned for John Galliano and launched his eponymous label in 2001, presenting at Paris Fashion Week. In the years that followed, he was often photographed alongside actress Tilda Swinton and model Farida Khelfa, two women he dressed and who share a lithe, androgynous air that favors his sharp tailoring. He also became a beloved designer to actor Timothée Chalamet. Notably, he dressed the actor for the Met Ball in a black-and-white jacket, mixing the tuxedo codes with white jogging pants. Recently, he dressed the Luca Guadagnino protégé for the red carpet in a backless red jumpsuit, causing a furor on social media.
Photo: Sabine Villiard
Photo: Sabine Villiard
Along with fashion and his close friendships, Ackermann has a passion for bringing attention to injustice, often focusing on women’s rights in the Middle East. In December 2021, the designer collaborated with Chalamet on a hoodie with all proceeds donated to French organization Afghanistan Libre, dedicated to preserving women’s rights in Afghanistan. At his recent couture show, the music included the song Baraye by the Iranian artist Shervin Hajipour, recounting the murder of Mahsa Amini and the ongoing battle for women’s rights in Iran. Gaultier, of course, has always been attuned to global happenings, most notably taking part in the fight against the Aids pandemic. He’s also promoted diversity since long before it became a keyword.
Photo: Sabine Villiard
Gaultier mentions that he shared with Ackermann which of the 36 looks appealed to him the most. “During one of his shows, I took note of the work on his bomber jackets, which is one of my iconic pieces. He had worked it in a way that I never had; he elongated the zip to make it a wing, which he also did for this collection, but with a double zip. Truly beautiful and impressive,” Gaultier exclaims. The world waits for Gaultier to reveal which designer he will invite next. In the meantime, the concept shows no sign of fading enthusiasm from the scores of fans both at the shows and around the world.
Photo: Sabine Villiard
Originally published in the March 2023 issue of Vogue Arabia
Style: Amine JreissatiHair: Sadek LardjaneMakeup: Loriane LegerPhotography assistants: Hélène Bozzi, Philippe MilliatStyle assistant: Style Aurélien, Storny Aléna BalletProducer: Danica ZivkovicModel: Renata Scheffer at the Claw
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Kendall Jenner Gets Sartorially Spotted in Colorful Maxi Dress for Jean Paul Gaultier’s Launch on Fwrd

Kendall Jenner Gets Sartorially Spotted in Colorful Maxi Dress for Jean Paul Gaultier’s Launch on Fwrd

Kendall Jenner hosted a party to celebrate the launch of Jean Paul Gaultier on Fwrd on Thursday in Los Angeles. In late 2021, Fwrd named Kendall Jenner its new creative director. In her role, she curates her own edit of designers for customers to shop, in addition to working on brand activations and marketing.

To champion Jean Paul Gaultier, Jenner was joined by many celebrities and fashion industry friends and colleagues for a party at a private residence. There were many standout looks for the evening among the A-list crowd, many of whom notably wore Jean Paul Gaultier.

Kendall Jenner on Nov. 17 in Los Angeles, California.

Marc Patrick/

Jenner herself wore a custom Jean Paul Gaultier dress with a multicolored pattern featuring a palette of green, red, yellow and orange. The strapless off-the-shoulder gown had a formfitting silhouette. She kept her makeup to a minimum.

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Doja Cat on Nov. 17 in Los Angeles, California.

Marc Patrick/

The pattern on Jenner’s dress was also featured on music star Doja Cat’s crop top and matching pants. The singer accessorized her look with a pair of statement earrings and a stack of bangles. She added some height with platform shoes.

Phoebe Gates

Marc Patrick/

Phoebe Gates also joined Jenner for the event, wearing a purple long-sleeve turtleneck dress with cutout detailing on the bodice and at the waist. She coordinated the look with a purple shoulder bag and topped it off with strappy open-toe platform shoes.

Megan Fox

Marc Patrick/

Megan Fox attended the event in an ethereal vintage white Jean Paul Gaultier dress. The dress had a unique pleating detailing throughout the skirt and center of the bodice and flared out at the hips. Fox coordinated her dress with a pair of silver platform sandals.

Sidaction Gala Returns to Paris Couture Week After Two-Year Hiatus

Sidaction Gala Returns to Paris Couture Week After Two-Year Hiatus

PARIS — The fashion industry celebrated the end of Paris Couture Week with the Sidaction gala dinner, back for its first physical edition since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.Designers and celebrities came together for the fundraising event, organized in partnership with the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode, and hosted by Sidaction ambassador and artistic director Jean Paul Gaultier, who launched proceedings with a fashion show featuring the contestants of “Drag Race France.”

Jean Paul Gaultier at the Sidaction gala with the cast of “Drag Race France.”
François Goizé/Courtesy of Sidaction

Dotted around the room were designers including Matthew Williams, Iris van Herpen, Glenn Martens, Camille Miceli, Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren, Alexis Mabille, Bianca Saunders and Yang Li. Also present were Tracee Ellis Ross, Camille Razat, Big Matthew, Rossy de Palma, Jeanne Damas and Carla Bruni, who was joined mid-dinner by her husband, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

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“I work for Netflix,” French actor Samuel Arnold demurely replied to a guest who wondered why he looked so familiar. Since his summer will be spent on the set of “Emily in Paris,” where he portrays the ever-sarcastic Julien, he wasn’t planning ahead all that much.
“Who knows? I don’t know what I’m doing tomorrow,” joked the actor, noting that the hit show had opened doors for him abroad. In his sights is Los Angeles, especially now that he has signed with prominent talent agency APA.
Taking in the Pavillon Cambon Capucines decked in red, Arnold declared the evening “mesmerizing” and said he was happy to support the cause. He didn’t know about the always buzzy lucky draw. “Already being here is a prize in itself,” he said.

Inès de la Fressange and Guillaume Henry
Dominique MAITRE/WWD

Guillaume Henry was still taking in the responses — good and bad — to Julia Fox’s appearance in his first physical runway show for Patou.
“She’s not one of my personal muses but all the girls at the office were talking about her all the time,” he admitted. The designer became interested in Fox once he saw her supporting emerging designers, and his team reached out.
“She represents a [new wave] of female empowerment. For me, a ‘militant woman’ looked like [French politician] Simone Weil. Today, she’s wearing micro-skirts and boots, she totes her kid like a bag, and it’s fascinating,” he continued, describing Fox as “smart, in love with clothing and a bit nervous” and comparing her to a modern-day Marilyn Monroe.
Fresh from winning the ANDAM Fashion Award, Lisi Herrebrugh and Rushemy Botter were preparing to head to the Cayman Islands – part vacation, part research trip. They’ve been running their Botter menswear brand with a team of just three people and were grateful for the 300,000-euro prize money.
“First of all we’re going to invest it in more structure in Botter, hiring people, also in developing fabrics, so bio-fabricated from algae, working with engineers. We can move quicker now,” Botter said.
The evening was a breather for Paris-based Spanish designer Arturo Obegero, who had donned one of his jackets with a dramatic fluted open neckline with tuxedo trousers.
Before he can enjoy a summer break that will see him head toward the Mediterranean, he was doubling down on the production of his menswear line. “After a collection, I always have a kind of epiphany that I then have to process. So things will be cooking throughout the summer,” he said between courses.

Victor Weinsanto and Charles de Vilmorin were feeling energized by the influx of tourists and fashion editors to Paris. “Life is finally returning. I hope it lasts. It feels good and it motivates you,” said Weinsanto. “Yes, it’s good to see things going back to normal and almost more extreme than before, I feel. It’s really quite brilliant,” de Vilmorin enthused.
But the two fledgling designers don’t plan to join in the revelry. Asked what his plans were for summer, Weinsanto said: “Work.”

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You Can Now Rent the Vintage Jean Paul Gaultier Beloved By Bella and Kendall

You Can Now Rent the Vintage Jean Paul Gaultier Beloved By Bella and Kendall

Photo: Getty
Vintage Jean Paul Gaultier has become a full-on celebrity obsession, with everyone from Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner to Beyoncé and Cardi B getting in on the act. It’s no wonder, then, that the French brand has decided to rent pieces from its own extensive archive, allowing fans to enjoy a piece of JPG history.
Around 30 pieces from the Gaultier archive will be available to rent, including a satin cage-style evening dress, as well as signature printed styles from the ’80s and ’90s. “Jean Paul Gaultier’s archives are our goldmine,” Antoine Gagey, the brand’s director general, tells Vogue. “We want to take care of them, value them, and share them with our fanbase.”
A vintage Jean Paul Gaultier look that features in the new offering.
Jean Paul Gaultier is also launching resale as part of its new website, from the brand’s famous tartan looks to slinky tops that tap into the current Y2K trend. Upcycled leather jackets, too, form part of the edit, showing the multi-layered approach JPG is taking to extending the life of its garments. “It is time to explore new ways of enjoying fashion: vintage, rental [and] custom can become strategic pillars for our house in the future,” Gagey adds.
It’s a refreshing approach that Gaultier himself, who recently retired after 50 years in the industry, will approve of. “I have come from a generation that scoured flea markets,” he previously told Vogue. “That is where I found a French navy striped shirt that I started wearing, and that became one of my codes. It’s a wonderful thing to give new life to old clothes and to wear them again. In this time of crises and confusion, what could be better? There are too many clothes, and not enough people to wear them.”
A cage-style gown from the JPG archive will be available to rent.
It comes as JPG launches its first ready-to-wear collection for the first time in six years care of new creative director Florence Tétier, again reflecting the booming appetite for the brand at the moment. Pieces reference the brand’s own archive, from its mesh tops to Mona Lisa prints (which we saw on the runways back in the ’90s).
Indeed, there seems to be no stopping the JPG resurgence right now, with Vestiaire Collective reporting in May that searches for vintage Gaultier had risen 300 per cent within six months. You’d better be quick off the mark if you want to get your hands on a piece.
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Originally published on

Sustainable Couture, Mega Yachts Mingle in Montenegro

Sustainable Couture, Mega Yachts Mingle in Montenegro

“I really want people to see that green fashion can be extremely glamorous, sexy and attractive,” Ronald van der Kemp said on Saturday night, moments after the last of his models — in drifting chiffon gowns — exited the palm-lined catwalk, with mega yachts and mountains as the backdrop.
The Dutch designer was the latest high-profile participant in the International Fashion Festival, a two-day, open-air event in Porto Montenegro designed to shine a spotlight on local and international designers — and a spectacular resort destination of fjords and crystal-clear water.
Van der Kemp was gobsmacked by the seaside vistas, the cypress trees, the picturesque medieval villages — and the fashionable crowds strolling the marina in their Gucci dresses, Bottega Veneta mules and Lady Dior bags. “The women really take care of themselves. That’s a very important thing that you see here,” he marveled.

The designer brought his fall 2021 couture collection, unveiled in Paris earlier this month: a smattering of past designs, plus a surfeit of “very floaty summery dresses” exalting a cache of vintage couture prints from the 1970s and 1980s. The show proceeded at a very leisurely pace — in tune with the speed of Montenegro — and spanned 70 looks paraded one-by-one on a long pier.

A look from RVDK Ronald van der Kemp in front of Regent hotel in Porto Montenegro. 

Van der Kemp said he had several sales appointments booked after the show, and was thrilled to have in-person client meetings after more than a year of coronavirus disruptions.

This year’s International Fashion Festival took place at a smaller scale than past editions due to pandemic-related restrictions. The backstage area could accommodate only 20 models, and the outdoor runway setting only 200 guests.
Yet the organizer, the Belgrade-based events agency Fabrika, welcomed a handful of television crews from Balkan countries, plus a raft of sponsors including the luxury hotel Regent, the European Union, watch brand Hublot and carmaker Renault.
Vesna Mandić, founder and chief executive officer of Fabrika, said Porto Montenegro is keen to create a lively social calendar for the people who flock to its world-class marina and luxury hotels and residences — and the International Fashion Festival adds to a slate of dance, sport and music performances organized over the summer season.
The two-day program had a “green” theme and included runway shows by Lisca, a Slovenian lingerie and swimwear company that does business in 60 countries, and two Montenegran designers: Maja Pavićević, whose three-year-old atelier does only unique pieces, and Aleksandra Džaković, whose Akka brand is built on biodegradable materials and sewing-free production techniques. Her pert fashions brought to mind the geometric, Space-Age forms of Pierre Cardin, but were in fact inspired by Montenegrin national costume.

A look from Akka by Aleksandra Džaković. 

Before moving to Porto Montenegro in 2018, Mandić had previously organized her fashion festival for 23 years in Kotor, a fortified town prized for its winding streets and Romanesque churches. Jean Paul Gaultier, Christian Dior, Zuhair Murad, Diane von Furstenberg, Emanuel Ungaro and Max Mara are among the famous brands to have participated.
Mandić noted Calvin Klein staged its first fashion show in Europe in Kotor, which also boasts its share of mega yachts and famous visitors.

The Montenegro region shelters a lot of budding designers, with a biannual fashion week in the capital of Podgorica.
Saturday night’s fashion shows were livestreamed, and the RVDK and Akka collections were also paraded through the bustling waterfront cafés of Tivat, the town that is next to Porto Montenegro.
“I believe that sustainable fashion is for everybody,” Oana Cristina Popa, the EU’s ambassador in Montenegro, said ahead of the display.  “We must support young creators and designers who are promoting sustainable, slow fashion instead of fast fashion.”
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EXCLUSIVE: Jean Paul Gaultier Returns to Ready-to-wear

EXCLUSIVE: Jean Paul Gaultier Returns to Ready-to-wear

The house of Jean Paul Gaultier is sailing back into ready-to-wear — this time with rotating creative crews and a digital-first business model.
The first product volley — a collection devoted to Gaultier’s fetish mariner theme, with a little help from Palomo Spain, Ottolinger and other young fashion talents — is to debut on Friday on the brand’s new e-store and on
It comes 16 months after the acclaimed designer staged his barn-burner of a couture swansang — and six years after France’s beloved “enfant terrible” halted men’s and women’s rtw to focus on high fashions and fragrances.
Consider the rtw comeback the first expression of an overriding strategy “to celebrate Jean Paul Gaultier, its values, its archives and its history,” said Antoine Gagey, general manager of the Puig-owned fashion house.

In an exclusive interview, his first since joining the maison in January 2020, Gagey elaborated on the strategy of serial collaborators, initiated in March 2020 when the house revealed that Sacai’s Chitose Abe would create a one-off couture collection for Jean Paul Gaultier in the wake of his retirement from the runway. Initially scheduled for a July 2020 unveiling, that show has been postponed twice due to the coronavirus pandemic, and should go ahead during the next Paris Couture Week, scheduled for July 5 to 8.

The guest-designer strategy spills over into the return to rtw, with Gagey describing a freewheeling approach to collection drops that could involve one or several invited creatives, and/or rely on the in-house design team, which includes many seasoned talents who know Gaultier’s oeuvre by heart.
He said the rtw drops will not follow the current seasonal calendar; will vary in size and scale; often incorporate archival styles, vintage or upcyled/customized pieces, and be distributed with a rotating cast of top-tier distribution partners. Gagey envisions about six to 10 drops a year, with the next one likely timed for October.
The debut sailor collection, spanning 75 stock keeping units, includes interpretations of the theme by the design team, “interventions” on sailor tops by the wizards in the haute couture atelier, and a silhouette or accessory each from Ottolinger, Palomo Spain, Nicola Lecourt Mansion, Alan Crocetti and Marvin M’Toumo, although the invitees all compared notes. “It’s really a team — it’s not five designers,” Gagey said, noting that the sailor theme stems from the erotic, disquieting 1982 Fassbinder film “Querelle,” based on the novel by Jean Genet.
The collection arrives just in time for LGBTQ Pride Month and includes audacious mesh T-shirts bearing a 1990 Pierre & Gilles portrait of Gaultier, plus a new graffiti print with racy slogans and references to queer and punk subcultures.
Rtw will retail from 150 euros to 750 euros, a range Gagey characterized as in line with the brand’s legacy of dressing couture ladies and cool kids on the street. Pieces customized by the atelier run up to 1,500 euros.
Gagey noted that Gaultier, who continues under contract with the house as an ambassador, remains involved in the future of the company, including the selection of guest couturiers. “He’s still working with us on different aspects of the brand, but he didn’t want to play that role of designing the collection anymore. He’s still helping us, giving us some direction,” he explained.

To ensure that the various design projects follow an overriding brand or narrative arc, told in a “consistent and interesting way,” the house has also named a creative and brand director, Florence Tétier, who quietly joined last September, Gagey said. Trained as a graphic designer, Tétier is best known for her creative role at Novembre magazine.
At Gaultier, Tétier plays the role of an “editorial director,” overseeing content across the brand’s social channels, and helping to “identify the right talents for the right projects,” Gagey said.
For example: The sailor collection will be backed by a fashion shoot done for social channels, and an influencer campaign hinged on “friends and family” of the house, which includes the likes of model Bella Hadid, whom Gagey boasted has a near-encyclopedic knowledge of the house and who frequently wears vintage Gautlier designers on her Instagram feed.
Seated on a black velvet banquette under the soaring ceilings of the Philippe Starck-designed couture salons, which were perfumed with incense just before a visitor arrived, Gagey noted that the idea of different designers interpreting one couture brand came from Gaultier himself, who alighted upon the idea back in 1987. That year, Jean Patou found itself without a designer when Christian Lacroix, who famously ignited the brand, left to set up his own brand backed by luxury giant LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. (Gaultier also worked at Patou earlier in his career.)
“This project and this concept would not fit every brand,” said Gagey, a thoughtful and poised executive who lauded Gaultier’s 50 years of avant-garde creation that was prescient in its embrace of gender fluidity, diversity, inclusivity and political activism.
And putting men in skirts, a cone bra on Madonna and regular folks in tattoo print tops was just the tip of the iceberg. “He has done everything,” Gagey enthused, noting Gaulter has designed collections for babies, homewares, denim and even makeup for men over his long career, leaving behind an extensive archive to inspire young creatives.
The rtw relaunch comes amid heightened interest in Gaultier, with prices spiking on a range of resale sites.

According to Vestiaire Collective, searches for vintage Jean Paul Gaultier were up 570 percent in the last six months and sales in the first quarter of 2021 increased by 30 percent, with items like a mesh maxidress from the designer’s Cyberpunk Amazonian fall 1995 collection selling for more than 3,000 pounds.
“We see, today, a huge potential and a huge excitement around Jean Paul Gaultier,” Gagey said, citing a significant and lasting impact from the January 2020 farewell show, an hourlong bonanza of fashion daring and camp humor. “We feel that people are waiting for this moment to see new ready-to-wear come back.”
He noted the brand had successfully trialed rtw via collaborations, including with New York’s Supreme, China’s Bosideng and Japan’s Onward Group, all in 2019. The designer further widened his global reach in recent years via tie-ups with Target in the U.S. and Australia; Lindex in Sweden; OVS in Italy, and Seven and I for Japan.
Fashion exhibitions that have traveled the world have also fanned affection for the brand. “The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk,” made its debut at Montreal’s Museum of Fine Art in 2011 and was seen subsequently by 2 million visitors in 12 cities worldwide. An exhibition of wedding gowns recently wound up at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade, following showings in Montreal and Buenos Aires.
Gagey said these would continue, disclosing that Jean Paul Gaultier curated an upcoming exhibition at the Cinémathèque Française that explores the role of fashion in film. Gaultier is an avid movie buff and has costumed several films, including “The Fifth Element,” “The City of Lost Children,” “Kika” and “The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover.”
The designer’s savoir-faire will also be showcased in the France Pavilion at Expo Dubai 2020, now scheduled to open later this year and run into 2022.
That said, the new e-store will have a storytelling approach, loads of editorial and an educational component to get consumers up to speed on the designer’s storied fashion career, which included a seven-year stint as the women’s rtw designer of Hermès.
Haute couture remains a bedrock of the house, with Gagey citing “solid” business and positive feedback and curiosity from its clients about the forthcoming collection by Sacai.

“We think that it will give a new mood and a fresh start to the Jean Paul Gaultier house. And I think we will probably be able to leverage a new generation of customers — maybe younger, maybe in other territories,” he said, noting the house does not have so many couture clients in Japan, where Abe is well known, for example.
Gagey declined to say who might be the next guest couturier, citing Gaultier’s wish to keep it confidential until the Jean Paul Gaultier x Sacai collection has been unveiled.
WWD reported on Jan. 15 that Glenn Martens, the Belgian designer behind Paris-based Y/Project and also the new creative director of Diesel, is probably up next. In 2008, Martens staged his graduate show at Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts and Gaultier recruited him as junior designer for his women’s pre-collection and the G2 men’s label.
To be sure, it should be an enticing opportunity for any marquee or up-and-coming designer to interpret Gaultier’s vast and eclectic design vocabulary, and to take advantage of his atelier’s know-how with tailoring and elaborately embellished flou.
While Gagey only has purview over the fashion house, he cited close collaboration with his counterpart on the beauty side, and said Puig “wishes to reinforce the collaboration between fragrance and fashion.”
He noted that both sides of the brand are represented on its Instagram account, which counts 2.8 million followers. (Twitter and Facebook each boast about a million followers.)
“We work very closely, we share the same heritage, we share the same DNA, we share the same history,” he said. “We share some teams between fragrance and fashion to make sure that there is this one brand vision that we want to bring to life, while respecting the specificities of each industry.…We are today working on common projects that will be revealed soon.”
Gaultier had previously licensed his rtw to Italian manufacturers Aeffe and Gibò Co. SpA, the designer’s original partner in the ’80s. Like his fashions, Gaultier’s business model went against popular convention, based heavily on licensing, even for core products like rtw and jeans.
One of France’s most iconic fashion figures, Gaultier started his company in 1976, and catapulted the French capital’s reputation for fashion in the Eighties alongside fellow fashion mavericks Claude Montana and Thierry Mugler.

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Haute Couture for Men Is Flourishing: Here’s Why

Haute Couture for Men Is Flourishing: Here’s Why

Dr. Gabriel Chiu, a plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills and star of the Netflix reality series “Bling Empire,” once attended a Chanel couture show in Paris with his wife, Christine — and a men’s coat on the runway caught his eye.
“When I asked about it, I was told only the runway sample was available and otherwise there were no plans to make it in another size,” he lamented.
But in 2016, a year after attending his first Dolce & Gabbana Alta Sartoria men’s couture show, Chiu took the plunge and ordered a three-piece suit in ivory Mikado silk with rose-shaped cutouts whose edges were hand-embroidered in the same color.
“Before I realized it had gotten a hold of me. I started getting more couture items, like a one-off watch made by Louis Vuitton’s La Fabrique du temps that is registered in Geneva as The Dr. Chiu,” he related.

Christine Chiu and Dr. Gabriel Chiu, both in Dolce & Gabbana couture.  Courtesy of Christine Chiu and Dr. Gabriel Chiu

Fast-forward to 2021 and haute couture for men is flourishing, with Valentino introducing high-fashion looks for men in its recent spring collection, and Balenciaga poised to introduce couture for men in July when it is slated to return to the Paris calendar after a 53-year absence.
Couture for men also received massive exposure during the recent Super Bowl half-time show when The Weeknd strode out in an outfit realized in Givenchy’s Paris ateliers — its pièce de résistance a sparkly red jacket that took 250 hours to hand-embroider. It is understood Givenchy’s new creative director Matthew Williams fully intends to create high fashions for men once the house rejoins couture week in Paris.

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Why this sudden fascination with extremely expensive, painstakingly made men’s wear?
According to Andrew Groves, professor of fashion design at the University of Westminster, the rise of couture for men reflects “the increasing strength of the ultra-luxury experiential fashion market, which is set to grow exponentially” as technology supersedes human intervention in fashion and other industries.
“The importance of craft or hand skills that cannot be replicated by automation will become increasingly valuable. But more significantly, the intimacy of the relationship between designer and client will also become greatly coveted,” he said, describing something of a return to the carriage-trade of yore.
“For the last 100 years, the most celebrated designers have been generally wealthier than their clients, but we are now returning to a period where the clients will be substantially richer. In effect, the designer’s position is being reversed, returning them to their historic role, as an artisan to the court,” he explained.
Couture houses guard client confidentiality ferociously, and won’t give prices. However, it is understood men’s couture items start at about 20,000 euros for a silk robe and quickly climb into six figures for tailored items.
Jean Paul Gaultier is considered the pioneer in male couture, including looks for men with his very first haute couture show for spring 1997, and in his final runway show in January 2020, which had his muse Tanel Bedrossiantz wearing dramatic coats with a spray of cock feathers — and the rest of the bird — attached to one of his shimmying shoulders.
“Men in search of highest quality and craftsmanship were already buying but without the media’s attention, so Jean Paul Gaultier brought them into the limelight by breaking the clichés of very traditional notions,” according to the house.

Groves noted that Gaultier has always “challenged perceived gender norms within the fashion industry. That he was the first to do this, and that it has taken so long for others to catch up is surprising.”
And catch up they have. Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, who showed their first Alta Sartoria collection in 2015, have parlayed it into a major business that today includes high jewelry and watches, dubbed Alta Gioielleria and Alta Orologeria. According to the Italian designers, their couture business today is evenly split between women and men.
Nobu Torii in Dolce & Gabbana couture.  Courtesy of Nobu Torii

“Exclusivity is the concept behind the Alta Sartoria project. We only make unique and nonreproducible garments,” the designers said in a joint interview. “Unlike the woman who approaches Alta Moda for a special and unique occasion, the man tends to want to build a personal wardrobe, made of clothes that satisfy and tell about his lifestyle, his dream.”
In a telephone interview, Dolce described couture for men as being more about “style of life,” than fashion, mentioning male clients who have requested wardrobes for golfing, for sailing life, or to match a collection of Ferrari sports cars.
Not that special occasions don’t matter.
According to a spokesman for the Gaultier house, it receives many special orders for groom outfits. “Men also want to be part of this unique experience and get the feeling of wearing something that has been made especially and only for them,” he said. 
Indeed, shopping for couture has become a shared passion for many couples.
“My wife is an obsessed Chanel haute couture client and loves Dolce & Gabbana Alta Moda, too. So in a way it was finally my turn to enjoy the process,” said Nobu Torii, an investor based in Honolulu. A longtime client of Dolce & Gabbana ready-to-wear for men, he started buying from the Alto Sartoria collections in 2015, describing them as “another level of perfection” and their lavish couture weekends — comprising runway events, dinners and parties — as pleasing to all senses.
“They have turned their couture shows into events that couples can enjoy together. The shows are over the top, the venues spectacular, the clothes are exquisite. Whether you are single or come as a couple, everyone leaves with a memory that will last forever,” he enthused.
Historically, Savile Row can be considered as the equivalent of couture for men, according to the professor Groves, noting that among Gaultier’s first couture creations for men was a boiler suit reminiscent of the bespoke ones Turnbull & Asser made for Winston Churchill.
Any elite tailor can provide their clients with a wide range of other items, Groves said.
Clients see things differently.
“Men have always ordered custom clothes, and I think it’s great that we now have the chance to enjoy haute couture as well,” said Fredrik Robertsson, a creative director and LGBTQ activist based in Stockholm. “I love extreme, I love creativity and I love exploring masculinity and femininity in my style. So for me, Savile Row has nothing for me. I much prefer the likes of Gaultier, Viktor & Rolf or Iris van Herpen.”
He, too, lauded the experience of couture, from sketches to fittings. “Watching craftsmanship by people who are the best in the world so up close is fascinating,” he said, noting the team from Gaultier recently paid him a visit in Sweden to fit a couture jacket incorporating a corset and cone bra.
Fredrik Robertsson gets an at-home fitting for Jean Paul Gaultier couture.  Ea Czyz / Courtesy of Fredrik Robertsson

“We drink tea, chat, gossip and it’s a special moment that becomes part of the memory of the garment,” he said. “As soon as traveling is a bit easier, I am going to Rome to find a Valentino men’s couture look that works for me.”
For Torii, couture offers men “the fashion element, sex appeal and glamour… It’s for a man who appreciates craftsmanship, enjoys high fashion and loves details that differentiate.”
Dolce said many first-time male couture clients order a suit, but this has nothing to do with made-to-measure, which has an industrial component. “It’s completely another approach,” he said, describing “the best vicuna, the best cashmere and the best wools” employed for a completely hand-made garment with details to each man’s specification.
Consider Torii. For his first purchase from Alto Sartoria, he chose a navy silk suit that had his Japanese family crest custom-printed inside.
“It was my bit of East meets West,” he said, explaining that historically in Japan, clients would order elaborate fabrics and embroideries but they were hidden on the inside layer of the kimono, visible only “when you lift your arm to pay” for something, or when socializing with close friends.
Details from Nobu Torii’s Dolce & Gabbana piece.  Courtesy of Nobu Torii

“This is the ultimate chic: ‘Iki’ in Japanese,” he said.
Groves noted that men’s wear offers some of the most luxurious fabrics imaginable. For example, he said Scabal has produced suiting fabrics using yarns embedded with diamond fragments, or impregnated with the smell of orchids.
Chiu said his first brush with couture shows involved “seeing the new trends and applying them to my work as a plastic surgeon” and then he started to appreciate the detail and craftsmanship, in addition to the artistry of the designers.
“The world of haute couture fashion has always orbited around women, with an occasional men’s piece placed as a satellite,” he said. “And as society has increased acceptance of individuality, more men are willing to express themselves and not be boxed into the same conservative styles. Dolce & Gabbana has proven that there is a couture market for men that is full of potential and relatively untapped, so it was only a matter of time when other houses would take notice and focus on this market. Now, I look forward to seeing the new styles and looks from not just Dolce & Gabbana, but also Louis Vuitton, Dior Homme, Armani, Tom Ford, Givenchy and others.”
See also:

EXCLUSIVE: Demna Gvasalia Thinks Couture Can Change Fashion

Jean Paul Gaultier Couture Spring 2020

Paris Couture Week’s Top Trends: Celebs, Mushrooms and Men

Farewell 2020: Looking Back on 10 of the Biggest Fashion Moments of the Year

Farewell 2020: Looking Back on 10 of the Biggest Fashion Moments of the Year

Although 2020 has not been the year that many hoped for, it has certainly been a time that we won’t forget. The pandemic disrupted many things, the realm of fashion among them. However, while fashion shows were canceled and red carpet events postponed, this year saw the world get creative. As we say goodbye to 2020, Vogue Arabia looks back on 10 of the biggest fashion moments of the past 12 months.
Jean Paul Gaultier’s final catwalk show
Bella Hadid for Jean Paul Gaultier’s final catwalk show. Photo: Alessandro Lucioni /

At the beginning of this year, Jean Paul Gaultier announced that his SS20 couture show would be his final catwalk spectacular. The show, which took place on January 22, saw the French designer out in style, with the ultimate runway cast, featuring models Karlie Kloss, Bella Hadid, Irina Shayk, Yasmin Le Bon, and the standout appearance of former supermodel Farida Khelfa.
Zendaya goes vintage for the Green Carpet Fashion Awards
Actor Zendaya wears a vintage Versace made in the year she was born, to the Green Carpet Fashion Awards. Photo: Supplied

When Zendaya picked up the Visionary Award at the virtual Green Carpet Fashion Awards on October 10, her outfit was quick to make headlines. The actor wore a vintage slinky brown Gianni Versace dress from the year she was born, in 1996. “She was actually born in 1996, so I thought that it’d be fun [for her] to wear something from that year. It’s taking her back – if Zendaya had been of age then, maybe she would have been a Versace model,” said celebrity image architect Law Roach on Zendaya’s outfit.
Meghan Markle’s final appearance as a member of the royal family
Meghan Markle wore an emerald green Emilia Wickstead dress for her final appearance as a senior member of the British royal family at the Commonwealth Service in March. Photo: Getty

Some of the biggest news this year was Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s announcement that they would be stepping down as senior members of the royal family. The couple officially marked the end of their royal lives at the Commonwealth Service in London, in March; and Markle showcased one of the most-talked-about fashion moments of the year, wearing an emerald green Emilia Wickstead dress.
Farida Khelfa and Jean-Paul Goude Reunite for Vogue Arabia
Farida Khelfa x Jean-Paul Goude for Vogue Arabia October 2020

The October issue of Vogue Arabia saw the iconic artist Jean-Paul Goude and his forever-muse, Algerian-French filmmaker Farida Khelfa, reunite after 30 years. The pair came together for the cover shoot, creating two unforgettable images and echoing their unique creative relationship and trust in each other. “The images that Jean-Paul creates, they stay forever. They are not something that disappears,” Khelfa shared.
Natalie Portman’s Dior cape at the Oscars
Natalie Portman in Dior at the 2020 Oscars. Photo: Getty

Natalie Portman delivered one of the most powerful feminist statements in Hollywood this year, with the black Dior gown she wore to the Academy Awards in February. The actor topped the gown with a long black coat, where the inside edge was embroidered with the names of several female directors who did not receive nominations at this year’s Academy Awards,  including Lorene Scafaria, director of the film Hustlers, and Greta Gerwig, who directed Little Women.
Emily in Paris
Lily Collins’ envious curly locks in Emily in Paris. Photo: Courtesy of Netflix

Since its launch in October, the Netflix series Emily In Paris has been the subject of much discussion throughout the world. Both loved and hated by viewers and critics alike, there was no denying that the show featured some exceptional fashion looks on actor Lily Collins. The show has also been named as part of the most influential style moments of the year, with online platform Lyst citing a 342% increase in searches in Kangol bucket hat after Collins’ character was featured wearing one.
Kim Kardashian West and Paris Hilton bring velour tracksuits back
Kim Kardashian West and Paris Hilton bring back velour tracksuits. Photo: Courtesy of Skim

Kim Kardashian West offered the ultimate early 2000s throwback this year, bringing back velour tracksuits for her Skims label. Kardashian West brought in close friend, and fellow velour-lover Paris Hilton to show off looks from her Skims collection that launched in October. “Velour is one of my favorite collection launches to date! It’s the perfect blend of 2000s nostalgia and present-day loungewear,” Kardashian West said at the time of the collection’s release.
Gigi Hadid’s maternity shoot
Gigi Hadid’s maternity shoot. Photo: Instagram/@gigihadid

One of the more exciting pieces of news this year was the announcement that Palestinian-American model Gigi Hadid was having a baby with her partner, British-Pakistani singer Zayn Malik. Although Hadid kept relatively quiet through her pregnancy and the subsequent arrival of her daughter, she released a series of images from a maternity shoot that took place in July. The stunning photos saw Hadid cradling her bump, with the model noting she was “growing an angel.”
Kamala Harris named as first-female Vice President of the United States
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris wore a white pantsuit at victory speech with President-elect Joe Biden, in November. Photo: Instagram/ @kamalaharris

In one of the most historic moments of the year, the world watched the US elect its first female Vice President, Kamala Harris, the running-mate of President-elect Joe Biden. Harris provided a statement fashion moment, signalling the re-birth of the power suit as she wore a white pantsuit, at a victory speech with Biden in November.
Emma Corrin makes her debut in The Crown as Diana, Princess of Wales
British actor Emma Corrin made her debut in The Crown as Diana, Princess of Wales. Photo: Courtesy of The Crown

British actor Emma Corrin made her debut in the fourth season of the Netflix series The Crown, in November, and her striking resemblance to the late Diana, Princess of Wales certainly didn’t go unnoticed by the world. Throughout the season, viewers saw Corrin wear replicas of many of Princess Diana’s famous outfits, including the royal blue suit worn by the Princess of Wales for her engagement photos, as well as her iconic wedding dress, originally designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel.
Read Next: 10 Best Celebrity Looks by Arab Designers in 2020

EXCLUSIVE: Serbia Says ‘I Do’ to Gaultier Wedding Exhibition

EXCLUSIVE: Serbia Says ‘I Do’ to Gaultier Wedding Exhibition

With so many weddings scuppered by the pandemic, an exhibition opening in Belgrade later this month takes on an added poignancy.
“Love Is Love: Wedding Bliss for All à la Jean Paul Gaultier” puts the spotlight on 38 couture wedding looks created by the designer between 1990 and 2020, including eight not included in previous iterations of the exhibition, which debuted in 2017 at the Montreal Museum of Fine Art and traveled the following year to Buenos Aires.
View of the exhibition “Love Is Love: Wedding Bliss for All à la Jean Paul Gaultier” at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, 2017.  Denis Farley

The display at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade, or MoCAB, marks Gaultier’s first solo exhibition in Serbia, and the first display of haute couture for the institution, which was originally founded in 1958 and now located in a funky 1965 building shaped like shards of crystal.

It puts an exclamation point on a landmark year for the acclaimed French designer, who staged his final fashion show last January, and will hand the couture reins to a rotating cast of creatives, starting with Sacai’s Chitose Abe next January.
“A wedding dress traditionally closes a haute couture show, and the exhibition comes at the end of my haute couture career,” Gaultier told WWD on Monday. “The Serbian public will be able to see my work, my codes and my values through these bridal outfits. It is about love, it is about joy and it is about the dress that should be the most beautiful of your life.”

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Though not without something irreverent.
Gaultier has shown a bride cradling a baby; another shrouded in tulle with a groom dressed in a matching fisherman sweater, and another in fishnets, a spray of white flowers attached to the back of her bridal G-string.
Laetitia Casta in Jean Paul Gaultier Couture 2003  WWD Archive

“I come from a generation that was against marriage and that was anti-establishment, so when I presented the wedding dresses I tried to present them with humor or theatricality,” Gaultier explained.
He recalls how enthralled he was watching Madonna perform “Like a Virgin” at the MTV Video Music Awards in 1984, descending a tiered wedding-cake set wearing a bridal gown and veil, ultimately writhing on the floor and playing with the microphone in a suggestive way. “I liked her provocation and the way she made the wedding dress sexy,” Gaultier said.
Included in the Belgrade show is a dress with a 25-meter-long train that was featured in one of Gaultier ready-to-wear shows.
“The dress was part of the scenography, presented as a curtain hiding the backstage and only at the end of the show the audience realized that it was a wedding dress when the model came out of it and ripped the curtain apart,” he recounted.
Gaultier opened his couture house in 1997 and had Laetitia Casta wear the bridal look.
Jean Paul Gaultier backstage at his spring 2015 haute couture show.  Delphine Achard

“Since then, every couture show had a wedding dress at the end – except in 2015 when I started with a wedding dress and did a full show of just wedding dresses,” he said.
Thierry-Maxime Loriot, curator of the “Love Is Love” exhibition, said it demonstrates how Gaultier laced his “creative and provocative work with humor” and exalts his “humanist vision of society as he embraced all cultures and subcultures without any taboos or judgment.”
The exhibition title, borrowing a phrase from then President Obama’s speech announcing the legalization of same-sex marriage in 2015, implies a conception of weddings inclusive of all configurations, questioning sexual, ethnic and religious conventions, Loriot noted.

“I feel this exhibition is important for the strong social message of freedom, tolerance and resilience it delivers,” he said. “For me, what is most important in ‘Love Is Love’ is that it is about fashion and tolerance.”
According to Viktor Kiš, acting director of the Belgrade museum, the circumstances created by the pandemic underscore the need for art that challenges people, and makes them think and feel.
“Gaultier is not a brand, but an idea of equality, support, diversity and tolerance, and if anyone ought to be fighting for tolerance in a society, it should be the artists,” he said. “Art is comprehensive, free, it allows for emotions, personal expression, provocation and critical thinking.”
Anna Cleveland on the runway at Jean Paul Gaultier’s spring 2015 haute couture show.  Giovanni Giannoni

The layout for the Serbian showcase was designed by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, or FFMA, with mannequins provided by JoliCoeur International and animated by Denis Marleau and Stéphanie Jasmin from the Montreal avant-garde theater company UBU.
Gaultier’s initial collaboration with the MMFA began in 2011 with “The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From Sidewalk to the Catwalk.” The retrospective traveled to 12 cities and was viewed by more than 2 million visitors between 2011 and 2016 — setting a record for a fashion exhibition.
The Belgrade display runs through March 2021 alongside the main exhibition showcasing recent acquisitions of the museum, dedicated largely to art from Serbia and the former Yugoslavia.
See Also:
Documentary Goes Behind the Scenes at Jean Paul Gaultier’s Farewell Show
EXCLUSIVE: Sacai to Design Jean Paul Gaultier’s Next Couture
With Weddings Being Canceled or Postponed, Bridal Designers, Manufacturers and Stores Are Left Scrambling

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